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Daylight Savings Time throws a curve ball for everyone, but especially for parents. Many Americans are in favor of abolishing daylight savings time for good – and it may be happening. In March of 2022, the U.S. Senate passed a bill that would make daylight savings time permanent beginning in 2023. In effect, this means we would “spring forward” one hour in March of 2023, and keep our clocks there indefinitely. This bill still requires approval from the House and President Biden to become law, so time will tell what time it will be! In the meantime, there are several pros and cons of permanent daylight savings time to consider.
Pros of Permanent Daylight Savings Time
Longer daylight hours with DST have been shown to make driving safer. During DST, car accident rates go down, as do the risk of pedestrians being hit by a car. With longer hours of daylight after work and school hours, people can jog, walk dogs, and play outside more safely. Furthermore, longer daylight hours during DST may promote a drop in street crime.
When the clock changes twice each year, accidents go up. The risk of heart attacks, headaches, and auto accidents increases when we collectively lose an hour of sleep. The time change also causes significant challenges to healthcare workers, for whom providing timely care can mean the difference between saving and losing a life. Getting rid of twice-yearly time changes would promote safety all around.
Parents know all too well how crucial timeliness can be when it comes to bedtimes and nap times. Without twice-yearly time changes, there will no longer be a need to gradually shift your child’s bedtime throughout the week leading up to the time change. Ending time changes eliminates a big source of stress for parents!
Longer evening daylight hours help families be more active. It’s safer and easier to play sports, enjoy playgrounds or bike on greenways with ambient light. With children in school and parents at work during the day, families can reconnect in the evening and enjoy fresh air for more days out of the year. When the sun sets early in the evening, people are more apt to engage in sedentary activities like watching TV.
For parents of early risers, permanent daylight savings time could be a plus. Although your toddler might rise at the crack of dawn no matter what time it is, it’s slightly less painful when it’s say, 6am instead of 5am.
Cons of Permanent Daylight Savings Time
Less Quality Sleep
Many sleep experts agree that adopting permanent daylight savings time would be detrimental for overall health. While losing sleep disruptions that come with time changes would be a benefit, most sleep experts favor the idea of permanent standard time instead. In general, daylight savings time means less light in the mornings and more light in the evenings. This can make both waking up and going to sleep harder.
While we currently observe daylight savings time for most of the year (March through November), the winter months would be affected. Many Americans would need to start their days in the dark for more months out of the year, which works against our natural circadian rhythms. Experts note that many people’s circadian rhythms don’t ever fully adjust to DST, causing people to be cranky, tired, and more susceptible to illness.
It can be a real struggle to coax a child to sleep on time when it’s still bright out. Daylight savings time adds evening light, and in the warmer months this can make bedtime a challenge. Blackout curtains in the bedroom can help block out the dawn, but you can’t block out all the light in your home when your toddler is bouncing off the walls after dinnertime.
Pros and Cons of Permanent Daylight Savings Time
All in all, there’s no perfect answer to which is better: twice-yearly time changes, permanent daylight savings time, or permanent standard time. Currently, a bill is on the table that could enact nationwide permanent daylight savings time. Proponents note an increase in active lifestyles, more consistency, and safety. Critics note less quality sleep and poorer health outcomes. For parents, permanent DST would at least eliminate the stressful week leading up to time changes. Permanent DST could help make those crack-of-dawn wakings more tolerable for parents, but late summer bedtimes would remain a struggle. All in all, we’ll have to stay tuned on whether the bill will pass the House and be signed by President Biden. Until then, best of luck with the time change on November 6th!