Dr-Fix-It! Notebook Archive:
It is Time for a Change . . .
Every spring, I spend a week recovering from the time change. I feel like I have been "rode hard, put away wet..."; a little groggy and fatigued. As I get older, the transition to Daylight Saving Time seems to have a greater effect on me with a longer recovery time.
Daylight Saving Time is the April Tradition of setting our clocks ahead one hour to prolong evening sunshine. Standard Time returns in October to provide a little extra light in the mornings. The idea of Daylight Saving Time dates back to 1784 when Benjamin Franklin noted that long sunlit summer mornings meant a waste of candles and lamp oil in the evenings. Our current version of Daylight Saving Time was born in 1966 when Congress passed the Uniform Time Act. Only Congress can legislate changes to Daylight Saving Time. However, in times of war or national emergency, the President and the Secretary of Transportation are empowered to make changes in Daylight Saving Time.
There is historical evidence that Benjamin Franklin's candle-conserving idea is still a valid idea today. During the 1973 OPEC oil embargo, Congress passed a law which froze Daylight Saving Time for two years to save fuel. Coincidentally, electric companies also noted a one percent drop in consumption during that same period. In 1986, when Congress moved the start date from the fourth Sunday in April to the first Sunday in April, US oil consumption dropped by about 300,000 barrels a year.
The California Energy Commission published a study in 2001 which evaluated the effects of Daylight Saving Time on energy consumption. The study concluded, "Winter Daylight Saving Time would probably save marginal amounts of electricity -around 3400 MegaWatt hours (one half of one percent of winter electricity use) . . . Winter Daylight Saving Time would cut winter peak electricity use by around 1100 MW on average, or 3.4 percent. . . . It could save hundreds of millions of dollars because it would shift electricity use to low demand (cheaper) morning hours and decrease electricity use during higher demand hours."
Dr. Joseph Mercola calls Daylight Saving Time, "one of the worst government decisions with respect to our health." He continues, "It (Daylight Saving Time) is one absolute disaster. The solution is NOT to turn the clock back but start school later and let kids sleep more." Other health professionals insist that the time change affects the body much in the same way as "jet-lag" They say it also stresses the human immune system which can allow cold viruses and bacteria a chance to take hold. They suggest a health regimen similar to what frequent fliers should do. To minimize the effect of the time change: drink lots of water, take extra vitamin C, avoid alcohol and coffee.
A trio of researchers has found a link between losses on the stock market and time changes. SFU Economics Professor Mark Kamstra, SFU Business Professor Lisa Kramer and UBC Professor Maurice Levi recently completed a study examining stock market returns on the days after a time change. Kamstra says he and his colleagues began the study after learning of UBC professor Stanley Coren's research into sleep deprivation, which shows that physical capital losses amount to $60 billion in the US on each of the two Mondays after the clocks are changed. Kamstra postulates that people whose sleep routines have been disrupted are perhaps more nervous than usual and therefore more averse to making decisions that involve risk.
OK, So let's recap . . .
First, changing time seems to give the entire nation a mild form of "jet lag." The Insurance Institute reports a spike in the incidence of car accidents after a time change. Additionally, The National Crime Bureau reports domestic 911 calls also tend to spike after a time change. So, we all seem to drag our tails around at work, maybe wreck our cars or go home and fight with the spouse .
Second, research seems to indicate we could save up to 3 percent of our national electric bill and hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil if we just quit messing with the clocks.
And finally there is that little matter of losing 60 billion (with a 'B') bucks on the stock market every time we change the time.
It is time to change the time change. Daylight Saving Time seems to be a realy good idea. There is money to be saved and problems avoided if we just stick with Daylight Saving Time all year.
Please, Let's just "Spring Ahead" one hour and STAY THERE!
P.S: A Follow Up - - -
Quote: "April 5, 2004 NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks rose to their highest closing levels in a month on Monday as investors welcomed good service-sector data and looked forward to a solid first-quarter earnings season. It was the third session of gains for the major indexes, which got a boost last week from the biggest monthly jump in new jobs in almost four years."