Well, it is that time of year again, all the clocks in most of America have sprung forward (with the exception of a few states that put it to a vote). For me it is always a time of adjustment and leaves me with an hour a day less sleep until it changes back.
The official reasoning for daylight savings time is that it saves energy and I suppose there could be some merit for that, in some cases. For instance, if I lived in a small apartment with nothing to do at home but watch tv, worked a job with regular hours in walking distance of home, and had no hobbies, I would be bored enough to turn off the lights and go to bed at sundown, thus burning less energy. This, however, is not my reality.
Reality on the farm leads one (under normal time circumstances) to rise with the sun, work outside until the sun goes down, then spend time inside after dark, which means lights on no matter what time of year or what the clock says. With everyone running on daylight savings time, businesses no longer close in the evening but an hour earlier, in the middle of the day, so I have to get up earlier and do anything that may lead to a trip to town later in the day, and since farm work doesn't go by the clock, it is frustrating to have to wait til tomorrow because everything is closed this afternoon. Driving, running tractors, welding and numerous other things done on the farm use the same amount of energy whatever time of day, so with an hour longer before dark, there is more time to burn that energy. Dark an hour later doesn't mean I can go in and go to sleep with all the chores done, it simply means I turn the lights on an hour later and still spend the same amount of time up and running. In short, I burn about the same electricity and more fuel with daylight savings time. Who knows, with fewer farmers than there were, maybe it all averages out, or maybe not.
Energy savings or not, the news for a few days has been filled with reports of studies showing that daylight savings time increases health risks, accidents and violent crime while lowering productivity. Of course, I haven't personally seen the studies, and with a background in research, I know that how a study is interpreted can be much different than it really is. The news media also take liberties with context to make things appear however they need them to for ratings. What I do know for sure is that I personally loose an hour of sleep every day until it changes back, that it takes me a few weeks to adjust to the shift, and that I am personally more irritable and less productive until that adjustment is made. I am willing to bet I'm not alone in this. When you think about what the time shift actually does, it is like going to sleep in one time zone and waking up in another ........... sounds like jet lag to me, and feels like it too, though many people don't really suffer that much from jet lag unless they jump several zones.
Setting all the social, economical, and health factors aside, everyone I have talked to about this over the past few years, whether they like daylight savings time or not, can agree on one thing. They would rather pick one and stay with it than switch back and forth.
With all of this and other factors I am sure to have overlooked, why do you suppose we, as a society, continue to do this to ourselves? Please share your thoughts and comments on this subject, and any ideas on how to ease the inconvenience it brings.