Why is There Daylight Saving Time? Here’s the Latest on Efforts to Eliminate It – NBC Chicago

Most Americans put their clocks ahead an hour early on Sunday, signaling that warmer days are in the not too distant future.

You might be feeling more tired than usual, at least for a while, as we’re going to sleep an hour less over the next few months. But in return we get an extra hour of sunlight and more time to spend the evening outside.

Daylight saving time has been around for more than 100 years; According to the Library of Congress, it was originally established in 1918 to save on energy costs during World War I. The law was repealed about a year later due to the end of the war, but was implemented again during World War II. It was introduced to conserve fuel and “advance national security and defense,” and was thus dubbed “wartime.”

The law was repealed a second time after the war ended so states could set their own standard time, the Library of Congress said.

Daylight Saving Time later became the standard in the United States until the passage of the Uniform Time Act of 1966, which mandated standard time across the country within established time zones. Daylight saving time has been a contentious issue for decades, and despite efforts to stop it, the time change persists.

The US Senate made an attempt last year by passing legislation known as the Sunshine Protection Act, which would end daylight saving time in the US except for Hawaii. Despite passing the Senate, the bill stalled in the House of Representatives, where it remained in committee until the end of the previous Congress.

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The Sunshine Protection Act was spearheaded by Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who suggested it would reduce crime, encourage children to play outside and reduce the risk of heart attacks and car accidents.

“There’s strong science behind this that’s now showing and making people aware of the damage done by switching the clock,” Rubio said earlier in the Senate, NBC News reported.

Daylight Saving Time isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, as Congress isn’t currently considering a proposal to end it.

Benjamin Franklin is credited for many things, but creating daylight saving time shouldn’t be one of them.

A 2020 study found that fatal traffic accidents in the US increased by 6% in the week after Daylight Saving Time began. Other studies have found that the changeover to daylight saving time leads to a slight increase in work-related accidents and medical errors in the days following the changeover. A 2019 study, meanwhile, found that the risk of heart attacks increased the week after the clock advanced, although other research found no such increase.

However, research overall is mixed, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine supports the opposite shift to a permanent standard time, as research shows the body functions best in the morning with more sunlight.

“I’ve had calls from constituents who prefer permanent standard time because of safety concerns for children who have to wait too long in the dark for school buses during the winter,” said Representative Jan Schakowsky of Illinois’ 9th congressional district and a Democratic member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which considered the bill.

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The Illinois-based AASM states that standard time may be more closely aligned with our body’s internal clock. According to the Time and Date website, standard time is the local time in a country or region that does not use daylight saving time.

“The daily cycle of natural light and darkness is the most powerful timer to synchronize our body’s internal clock,” says AASM. “When we get more light in the morning and darkness in the evening, our bodies and nature are more attuned, making it easier to wake up to our daily activities and easier to fall asleep at night. Daylight saving time messes up our internal clocks leading to sleep loss and poor sleep quality, which in turn lead to negative health outcomes.”

“More populated cities would also be affected by darker mornings — with permanent daylight saving time, New York City’s January sunrise would not occur until 8:20 a.m. In Los Angeles, sunrise in January would be at almost 8 a.m., and in Minneapolis, sunrise would be at almost 9 a.m.


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