Save lives over daylight

in Opinion by
Though an hour pushed back during Daylight Savings may seem like a small nuisance, it can actually have serious health ramifications. (Photo/Public Domain Vectors)

National Sleep Awareness Week was March 13 to the 19, which, per the National Sleep Foundation, is all about reemphasizing the important connection between sleep and health…and rejuvenating. Yet ironically, we lose an hour of sleep during this week, thanks to Daylight Savings.

As PBS notes, the U.S. Congress instituted the idea of daylight savings time during World War I. It was brought back during World War II, and then re instituted during the energy crisis of the early 1970s. The idea was that having extra light later into the afternoon would save energy by decreasing the need for electric lighting.” 

However, Daylight Savings has some dangerous consequences which are overlooked. Not only does daylight savings cause inconvenience for Americans to change the time on their clocks but also cause detrimental health effects, especially for high-schoolers. In general, “Teenagers have a delay in the natural signal that helps them fall asleep[;]adolescents are particularly susceptible to sleep problems from the extended evening light of daylight saving time,” Vanderbilt neurologist Beth Marlow stated. This means that students who are already exhausted from numerous after-school activities and late hours spent working on homework and projects lose even more sleep as they have to wake one hour earlier than their biological sleeping clocks. 

But the effects stretch much further than that. As Marlow found in her studies,  “The sun both rises and sets later in the western parts of time zones. This means that many people in [the west] must get up before sunrise to get to work on time compared to people in [the east], who can get up after sunrise. [This is linked to] higher rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and breast cancer” seen in the west,  all catalyzed by misalignment of circadian sleeping rhythms with the surrounding environment due to daylight savings. 

Given all the chronic health ramifications daylight savings has on all Americans, it is clear that daylight savings has no role on our soil anymore. 

Shreyan Singha is a freshman at American Heritage. He is an active public speaker, participating in various clubs such as Speech and Debate, Model UN, and Student Government. As he researched and came across articles from different notable sources such as the Washington Post and the New York Times, he discovered his love in journalism and is interested in developing his skills in journalism and in expanding his knowledge in this vast field. Besides public speaking and journalism, he is interested in mathematics (as he believes that they are just little puzzles just waiting to be solved) and science (as he is intrigued about how the world around us works and is fascinated by simple processes such as chemical bonds). He is looking forward to a great year working in the Patriot Post.

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