The high cost of daylight-saving time

Changing the clock is dangerous to our bodies and hurts the economy. Why continue this outdated policy?

By Kim Peterson Mar 8, 2013 3:22PM
Dan LaMoore moves a clock face at the Electric Time Company plant in Medfield, Mass., on November 3, 2011 ( Elise Amendola/AP)Daylight-saving time made sense, oh, 230 years ago, when Benjamin Franklin bemoaned the fact that people were sleeping in during the morning daylight and burning candles at night.
 
But is there really much point to it anymore?
 
The idea of daylight-saving time has always been about conserving energy. But these days, when turning the lights on at night isn't nearly as wasteful as it once was, any benefit from energy conservation is far outweighed by the economic drawbacks of a time switch.
 
Very little research has been done on whether daylight-saving time has a real-life benefit in terms of energy demand.
 
In fact, after Indiana began observing daylight-saving time in 2006, economists from the University of California found that household electricity bills actually went up by a cumulative $9 million a year.
 
Here are seven other reasons daylight-saving time should be put out to pasture:
 
1. It wastes air conditioning. In the fall, we're essentially using an extra hour of sunlight in the evening. But in warmer climates, that means more energy is used on air conditioning.
 
2. It increases pollution. One extra hour of daylight used means more time to run around doing errands and enjoy the long summer evenings. But that leads to increased emissions.
 
3. It messes with your body. Earlier waking times and sleep deprivation, not to mention a disruption in your sleeping patterns, can be hard on the body. A 2008 study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed a significant increase in heart attacks in the first three weekdays after the transition to daylight saving time in spring.
 
4. It brings more drowsy drivers. Sleep deprivation can be deadly on the road. The National Road Safety Foundation is warning drivers this week to be extra careful as they adjust to waking up an hour earlier.
 
5. It hurts the economy. A new study from SleepBetter.org says moving the clock ahead each spring causes $434 million in losses to the U.S. economy. Because we're all so tired, there are higher chances for workplace injury and loafing around on the job as we wait for the coffee to kick in.
6. Cows hate it. Daylight-saving time is supposed to be good for farmers. And while it gives farmers another hour to get things done, the cows don't like it, one dairy farmer told The San Francisco Chronicle in 2008. In the fall switchover, his cows end up waiting an extra hour to be milked, and they don't like it.
 
"I just wish (the time) would stay set," the farmer told the newspaper. "It's cumbersome to get all your clocks changed. I wonder if it's worth all the hassle."
 
7. It's annoying. Adjusting all the clocks and waking up earlier is just plain irritating.
 
Not everyone hates daylight-saving time. Retailers love it because more shoppers head into stores. Golf companies adore it and told Congress in 1986 that one month of daylight saving translated into $400 million a year in extra sales and fees, according to Scientific American.
 
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1078Comments
Mar 8, 2013 4:48PM
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It should be daylight savings time year round!  It should never be dark at 5pm!

Mar 8, 2013 4:49PM
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I LOVE daylight saving time!!!  I wish we could keep it year round....nothing worse than getting off work at 5:00 in December and going into complete darkness. 
Mar 8, 2013 4:53PM
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This may just be a new low for the idiots that write stories for MSN. Seriously, everyone in this forum is now dumber for having read this.

 

"An extra hour of sunlight in the evening" and "one extra hour of daylight" are both stupid and incorrect phrases. Daylight savings time does not create daylight, you asshats. The day isn't going to be any longer or any shorter if we get rid of DST.

 

I'm going to write a new study, and call it "Reading articles on MSN makes people stupid, it hurts the economy, and dogs hate it. So, let's do away with MSN!!"

Mar 8, 2013 4:49PM
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I think we should go on DST year round.

Mar 8, 2013 4:52PM
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i love it.  It gives me more day light hours to enjoy the outside when I get home from work. I love to grow my own vegetables and I love working in my flower garden. During the winter I feel much like a vampire by going into work when it is dark and coming home when it is dark.  By only encountering dark in the winter I find myself depressed by the time February rolls around and my productivity at work drops.

Mar 8, 2013 4:52PM
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Let's just stay on Daylight savings Time and longer  sunlight days in the winter when needed!
Mar 8, 2013 5:00PM
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Is this broad really that dumb?  WE USE EXTRA AIR CONDITIONING?????? The sun is up the same number of hours, stupid.  Gawd, what is happening to journalism?  Doesn't she have an editor?  And basing a reason SOLELY on one farmer's comment somewhere?  YOu are so incredibly vapid and ridiculous.  Somebody slap her momma, her grandmomma, and whoever signed her diploma.  ARRRRRGHHH.
Mar 8, 2013 4:48PM
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Every year the same dumb questions and answers. They must be hard up for news. Turn up the clocks 1hr. then leave them alone.
Mar 8, 2013 4:54PM
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I personally like it for the extra hour of daylight I get when I get home in the afternoon. I can actually get things done around my yard and not have to wait for the weekend to cram all the work in. So I get more free time to enjoy myself on the weekends also. What is not to love.
Mar 8, 2013 3:40PM
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Pure BS We do not need this at all ! Its out dated and useless ! Its time for congress to END THIS BS...
Mar 8, 2013 4:52PM
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Those of us who actually LIKE to be outside enjoy the longer days!!!! This article is pure crap however!!! Ms. Peterson read your comments 1-6 and then 7 and tell again if it is better or worse?? Get outside enjoy the daylight.
Mar 8, 2013 4:50PM
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So it hurts the economy to the tune of  434 million but adds 400 million to golf companies? Hmmmm
Mar 8, 2013 4:49PM
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I think people just need something to complain about.
Mar 8, 2013 4:50PM
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For an army of one...I say we keep daylight saving year round!  If it is kept year round that would eliminate most the problems the writer, of the above article, has with it.
Mar 8, 2013 4:37PM
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didn't mind it so much when i lived in arizona!!
Mar 8, 2013 4:48PM
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PLEASEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee  END  it ----- I am cussing already thinking about IT. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
Mar 8, 2013 4:50PM
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Wait, cows can tell time ? Who knew.

 

Mr. Peterson, you are full of those cow's droppings.

Mar 8, 2013 4:52PM
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