By Rebecca Mills
At 2 a.m. this Sunday, November 6th, we will “fall back”one hour once again, marking the end of Daylight Saving Time. Time changes are under extreme scrutiny, as the U.S. Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021 on March 15, 2022. This act would end the need to change our clocks, keeping Daylight Saving Time in place permanently. Although the Senate quickly passed this bill, the bill still needs to pass the House of Representatives and gain President Biden’s signature before it will go into effect. If the bill does gain the necessary approvals, we would “spring forward” an hour in March of 2023, and time would stay that way. Unfortunately for time change opposers, the House has not even discussed the bill yet. On the state level, Georgia lawmakers agreed to end the time change in March of 2021. However, this state legislation cannot go into effect until changes are made on a federal level.
The United States Department of Transportation is in charge of time zones, putting them at the helm of Daylight Saving Time. This is in order to maintain smooth transport of goods across state lines.
Daylight Saving Time was began in the US in 1966, signed into law by Lyndon B. Johnson. In theory, the longer the daylight is out in the evening, the less electricity we will use in our homes. Today, we have energy efficient lights and appliances, making the need for time changes nearly obsolete.
Sleep researchers have strongly opposed Daylight Saving Time since its inception. Their research shows that too much light towards the end of the day will cause an imbalance in circadian rhythms, the natural cycle of sleep and alertness in humans. An imbalance in the circadian rhythm leads to insomnia and stress, which can cause a whole host of other, more serious, health concerns. Sleep researchers petitioned heavily against the Sunshine Protection Act, pleading to completely dismantle Daylight Saving Time, and to keep Standard Time instead. Due to the long recorded increase of production and the elevated state of the economy during periods of elongated daylight hours, Congress shut down the sleep community.
Even with so much controversy and uncertainty surrounding the topic, we will be gaining an hour of sleep this weekend as Daylight Saving Time comes to an end. In preparation, set all manual clocks back one hour. All devices that are connected to the internet (phones, computers, smart appliances) will automatically adjust their clocks at 2 a.m. on Sunday.
One benefit that is agreed upon by all parties in the debate concerning time change is this: time change allows for a benchmark for maintenance. Things to do when time changes include: check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for functionality, flip your mattress, clean or replace HVAC filters, reverse your fans, clean your refrigerator coils, clean dryer vents, review first-aid and disaster supplies and plans, clean out gutters, and, arguably most important with the holidays coming soon, clean out your oven.