Clocks fall back Nov. 5, experts call for abolition of daylight saving time

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Daylight saving time is ending soon. The clocks will fall back by an hour on Sunday, Nov. 5 at 2 a.m.

This annual tradition has revived discussion, as it always does, about the origins and efficacy of daylight saving time.

Daniel Kay and Kara Duraccio, cochairs of the Consortium of Sleep Psychology at BYU, shared their expertise and answered some questions about this practice.

“Initially, following the time change people may have the tendency to wake up one hour earlier relative to the clock. However, if you are like most people, you will feel like you get to sleep in an extra hour in the morning,” they said.

The sun sets over BYU campus. The sun will start to set earlier in the day throughout winter. (Ryan Campbell)

There is a slight increase in negative outcomes when daylight saving time ends, they said, but with the start of daylight saving time, which occurs in the spring, there is much research linking the change in time to a host of negative consequences for performance and health.

Difficulty sleeping, more accidents on the road and at work, higher cardiac events, more falls, worse cognitive performance, decreased mood, poorer school performance and increased mental health crises are some of the documented effects of daylight saving time, Kay and Duraccio said.

Many people have the misconception that daylight saving time is for the winter months when there is less sunlight, Kay and Duraccio said.

“However, daylight saving time is implemented so that businesses and people have more light in the evening during the spring, summer, and fall months,” they said.

Kay and Duraccio, as well as the Consortium of Sleep Psychology, support the abolishment of daylight saving time.

They shared a few places, including Arizona, have done what is best for society by ending daylight saving time.

“There is no question in the scientific literature and the sleep research community that ending daylight saving time would be the wisest decision for the health and well-being of humans,” Kay and Duraccio said.

According to them, until daylight saving time is abolished, people can do their best to lessen the effects of the time change.

For those who are sensitive to changes in their sleep schedule, one tactic that Kay and Duraccio recommend is to try to shift the biological clock in 15-minute intervals several days before the time change.

“For the end of daylight saving time, this would involve going to sleep 15 minutes later each night and waking up 15 minutes later each morning for the 4 days before the time change so that when the time change happens, you have already shifted to the new time,” they said.

Macy Stubbs, a senior studying political science, explained although she has not noticed any physical or mental symptoms associated with daylight saving time, she still supports getting rid of it.

“I’ve found that the winter part of daylight savings time is the time when I have the worst time mentally in the year … so I believe that it probably affects people to some extent, and if there are studies that detect those kinds of correlations then I am fully in support of getting rid of it,” Stubbs said.

With many states considering laws prohibiting clock changes, there is a chance that daylight saving time will be done away with in the near future. Until then, Americans will just have to keep changing their clocks every six months.

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