A political issue? // The observer

As you may recall, on March 13, we all woke up a little more groggy and tired than usual. Of course, this was the result of daylight saving time in effect. Or, as we all experienced a few weeks ago, the day we lose an hour of sleep.

Sleep lovers (like me) were thrilled to hear that the Senate unanimously passed the Sun Protection Law March 15. The bill would make Daylight Savings Time permanent throughout the year, meaning we would no longer set our clocks back one hour in winter and one hour forward in spring. But, most importantly to me, the Sunshine Protection Act meant that I wouldn’t lose an hour of sleep every March.

Evidence suggests that permanent DST will be widely supported. Research indicates 7 out of 10 Americans prefer not to change their clocks. Marco Rubio, a Republican senator from Florida, echoed that sentiment when he spoke in favor of his bill, stating that “the majority of the preference of the American people is to simply stop the back-and-forth change”. Changing the clock is a real headache. Even though smartphones automatically update with the new time, the change may initially be disruptive or make your day feel a little off.

Despite this, the Sunshine Protection Act might not be as popular among Americans. In fact, in the early 1970s, the United States had already made daylight saving time permanent. The measure was a temporary two-year experiment by Congress in order to solve the energy crisis at the time, believing that having more sunlight in the evening would reduce energy consumption. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long before the law has become incredibly unpopular because any kind of change, even if it is to add or remove an hour, immediately becomes controversial. The experiment not only failed from a social but also a scientific point of view, because the energy consumption was not reduced as originally planned.

Before the two years had passed, Congress ended up repealing the law. While it’s true that Americans don’t like changing their clocks or losing an hour of sleep, it turns out that they also hate darkness in the morning. Many people hated having to wake up before sunrise, go to work and school in the dark during the winter months.

On the other hand, supporters of permanent daylight saving time argue that sunlight in the evening is better than in the morning. For example, some claim that facing darkness on the way home from work is worse than darkness on their morning commute. Others say more evening sun could be better for mental health, general morale and public safety.

To be completely frank, I honestly don’t care. In other words, I am completely neutral as to whether an hour of sunlight in the morning or in the evening is better. I can see why it’s nice to have sunlight on the way to work, but I also understand how beneficial evening sunlight is. However, I am in favor of the Sunshine Protection Act for one reason and one reason only: sleep. With permanent daylight saving time, I wouldn’t have to waste an hour of my precious sleep every spring. I know that sounds dramatic, but the day DST comes into effect is my least favorite day of the year. I wake up grumpy, not rested and annoyed that we had to change the clock at all. Regardless of the potential for more sun in the morning or evening, we just need to stop changing the time.

I am not alone in this opinion. While Americans are quite divided as to whether they prefer Standard Time or Daylight Savings Time – 40% prefer the first and 31% choose the second only 28% prefer to alternate. A substantial percentage of Americans are united by the belief that changing the weather twice a year is tedious and tiring.

Although morning darkness has its drawbacks, I fully support the Sunshine Protection Act. Assuming the bill passes the House of Representatives, I’m already looking forward to next spring, knowing that I’ll keep my hour off.

Libby Messman is a junior who studies political science and philosophy and lives in Pasquerilla West Hall. She is Vice President of BridgeND.

BridgeND is a student-run discussion club committed to bridging polarization in politics and educating on how to engage in respectful and productive discourse. BridgeND welcomes students of all backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences who want to strengthen their knowledge of current issues or educate others about an issue close to their hearts. The club meets weekly on Mondays at 7 p.m. at DeBartolo Hall #217. You want to know more ? Contact [email protected] or @bridge_ND on Twitter and Instagram.

The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Tags: US Politics, Daylight Saving Time, lifestyle, Sunshine Protection Act

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