By Louisa Furman
Every year on the second Sunday in March, clocks around the United States spring forward one hour. In nearly every state, citizens lose an hour in their day, which is returned to them on the first Sunday of November. This process, known as daylight saving time, has existed intermittently in the US since 1918.
Contrary to the popular myth that daylight saving time was intended to benefit farmers, Forbes reports that amidst financial struggle brought on by World War I, lawmakers decided to turn the clocks forward one hour for seven months in order to conserve valuable energy. This same tactic was used year-round in World War II, and from there on states were allowed control over their time rules until the Uniform Time Act was passed in 1966, standardizing the start and end of daylight saving time throughout the states. Since then, both Arizona and Hawaii have dropped the rule, but the remaining 48 states still move their clocks forward every March.
Now, in an age of technology, the question exists of whether the benefits of daylight saving time still outweigh its shortcomings. Supporters of daylight saving time claim that it promotes safety. According to NPR, more hours of daylight decrease the number of car-related accidents. Additionally, more time in daylight gives workers and students alike more time to be active outside by making the time of sunset one hour later. Any Winsor student who stays after school for a sport or an extracurricular during the winter knows the struggle of it being dark by the time they are ready to go home. Daylight saving time helps to fix this problem in the spring, giving teams more time for practice and students a lighter, safer journey home. This extra time in daylight also helps the economy on a larger scale, with more consumers staying out later and buying additional products. Even today, many of the benefits of daylight saving time on the economy, safety, and outdoor activity remain.
Yet, this does not mean that the benefits of daylight saving time come without damage. According to CNN, experts argue that the seemingly small one-hour shift can actually affect one’s circadian rhythm. Sleep is a very important part of student health, especially for teenagers; each March, in the days following the loss of one hour, there is a significant drop in the productivity of students. Although this year that switch is happening during spring break, it will still negatively affect the productivity of many other students across the country. This sleep deprivation also causes an increased risk of heart attacks and accidents, further indication that preserving sleep is important. In addition, many would agree with Aria Wang ’26, who finds daylight saving to be “a little confusing sometimes,” especially when it comes to changing the time on her clock.
Clearly, daylight saving time still has many benefits, but there are also many negative impacts of the biannual switch. So do the pros outweigh the cons? Well, it turns out that you don’t necessarily need to decide. There is another option, different from getting rid of daylight saving time: It could be kept year-round. This would allow for all the benefits of extra daylight but eliminate the downsides of the switch. Sure, it would be an adjustment, but the extra daylight for both sports and transportation home would benefit the Winsor community and businesses that rely on the outdoors.
In fact, the Sunshine Protection Act, which would make daylight saving time year-round, was passed in the Senate in 2022, four years after its initial introduction. Although the bill died in the House, as its chief sponsor, Sunshine State Senator Marc Rubio said after it passed, “Pardon the pun, but this is an idea whose time has come.” For better or worse, daylight savings subtly reshape our lives twice a year, and moving forward, we can continue to think of new ways to reap the benefits of the time shift without having to accept its current shortcomings.