454: DST

Should Daylight Savings Time still be a thing?


Full episode script

A quick glance at Wikipedia tells us that 71 countries still, in some way shape or form, recognize Daylight Savings Time. A larger number of countries did at one point use the clock-shifting magic, but have since stopped. In 2009, Scientific American estimated that about one-quarter of the world’s population would be impacted as the clocks shifted that year.

Though Benjamin Franklin suggested the idea in 1784, Germany was the first country to adopt DST, during World War One.

In the oil crisis of the 1970s, the US Department of Transportation studied the impact of daylight savings time on national electricity usage, and found that it reduced use of electricity by roughly 1 percent.

PBS Newshour did a fairly comprehensive review of the current research surrounding Daylight Savings Time in a November 2017 article. Just a few of their cited findings included that in Australia and the United States, daylight savings time might actually be increasing electricity usage. Why? By shifting what parts of the day we align our lives with, daylight savings time tends to increase usage of air conditioning and heating.

One study found that it does tend to smooth out the peaks and valleys of electricity usage a bit, but still leads to overall higher usage. Another study found that fewer muggings and sexual assaults happen during daylight savings time months because there aren’t as many people out after dark.

The rest of the studies, though, are mostly based on sleep deprivation. There’s more injurys, more accidents, more lost productivity… the fairly standard combination of nastiness that happens when you have a general state of sleep deprivation.

In short – there’s arguments on both sides. So…

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.