Daylight Savings Time (DST) was instituted in the U.S. during the first World War in order to save energy for war production by taking advantage of the later hours of daylight between April and October. During the second World War, the federal government again required the states to observe the time change. In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, which standardized the length of DST.
I've heard the DST naysayers. I've heard them loud and clear.
"My kids overslept and we were all late Monday morning."
"I walked through the entire day in a fog."
"I missed an important meeting because I forgot to set forward my watch."
“We’re the only country that does this.” (not true)
For me, the DST’s "spring forward" this week came at the perfect time. Among the reasons:
The Abysmal Winter
I don't know about you, but I've had enough of this dark, freezing winter to last for the rest of my life. Thanks to DST, I happily skipped out of my office at 6PM on Monday - and it was still sunny out! I felt like we were actually approaching the "official" first day of spring on March 21. Oh, that Vitamin D felt so good! My reinvigorated attitude gave me an extra productivity boost for the rest of the evening.
My body’s circadian rhythms don’t like waking up in the dark. It makes me crabby and sluggish. Well, this is because human beings have evolved to wake with the sunrise. DST makes this a bit more feasible. This entire week, I've woken up when natural light was starting to filter into my bedroom and I was able to start my work day on the right foot.
I live in an urban area, and public transportation tends to be a bit deserted after dark. Therefore, it's generally not the best idea for a woman to travel alone after sunset. But this week, I could take the train to a networking conference because it was still light out and safer. I made several valuable contacts attending an event I might have skipped otherwise.
Yes, my family is crunchy. We are so crunchy that we are actually getting solar panels in our new house. In all seriousness, though, we really need to start thinking about the massive footprint human consumption is making on our planet. DST saves enormous amounts of electricity by requiring lights a full hour later – which is especially relevant to those folks working late in huge office buildings.
And finally, as a mom of two, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the parenting perks associated with DST. No, my kids weren’t traumatized by a lack of sleep (since they are generally well-slept, a missed hour didn’t matter that much), but they were overjoyed to ride their bikes outside for the first time in four months. They were so over-stimulated by this rare burst of physical activity that they left me alone to finish this blog post before bedtime. Thank you, DST, for enabling better work/life fit!