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Retirement Planning

Daylight “Savings” Time

As we all know by now, Daylight Savings Time (DST) ended this past weekend and we all rejoiced because of the “extra hour” of sleep we got Saturday night/going into Sunday morning.

But, what you may not realize is that DST was truly started as a cost savings measure.

DST was first proposed by Ben Franklin nearly 100 years ago. At the time, it was introduced in order to save money on energy costs. Rather than sleeping through daylight hours and using energy to create light in the evening time, Ben Franklin proposed that we reset our clocks 1 hour ahead in the spring time to adjust for these hours of daylight better in our schedules. This became known as “Spring Forward”. Then as daylight hours are reduced going into winter, our clocks are set back an hour to their original time. This is known as “Fall Back”.

Ben Franklin is a very important and intelligent historical figure and I’m sure at the time that DST really made sense and saved lots of money in energy costs. But times have changed. Now days people are going to use energy (in the form of electricity) no matter what time of day it is. Most of us don’t use natural light sources very often anyhow, even when they are available during the day. Electricity is a game changer and, in my opinion, has made DST out-dated and unnecessary.

Now as I’m an official DST hater, I’d argue that changing our clocks around actually does more harm than cost-saving good. Here’s why:

Health Impacts

According to this recent article at Business Insider, changing our schedules twice a year can be detrimental to our health in more ways than one. Even just throwing our sleep schedules off by 1 hour can have lasting impacts that affect more than just sleep quality. What many people don’t realize is that the amount of sleep we get, and the quality of it, have large impacts on other things in our lives, like safety and productivity.

Suicides, car crashes, and heart attacks are all more common during the time right after one of the time changes. Of course, these things are usually worse after the “Spring Forward” where we lose an hour, but I know my sleep pattern is still thrown off by the “Fall Back”.

I find myself wanting to go to bed at the new 8:30 p.m. because I usually try to go to bed at 9:30 p.m. during DST. The changed hours of sunlight are helpful for me to get up in the morning, but detrimental to my usual hours of evening productivity. (If this article doesn’t make sense, blame it on the end of DST this last weekend!)

Wealth Impacts

As I already mentioned, productivity is highly affected by our sleep patterns, which is one of the largest things impacted by DST. When productivity is impacted, so is profit which can be huge for the self-employed.

For those of us working the 9-5, the workdays seem to last forever for the first few days after we “Fall Back”. My usual 3:00 brain drain now starts at 2:00, and I usually lose a lot of productivity around 4:00 which is now 3:00. This means that now my employer has me for 2 hours after my urge to be productive is lost rather than just one hour with low productivity. Plus wages from some jobs are directly impacted by our performance and productivity on measurable tasks. If we are losing more hours during our work day due to “brain drain” at the end of the workday, our wages will eventually suffer.

Of course, you could always try to lighten the horrid mood of the “Spring Forward” by challenging yourself to meet a savings goal, like Phroogal did this past spring. While this is a great idea (and one I might even try out this next spring), I still thoroughly hate DST and don’t find it to be worth the hassle.

Well, I’m off to bed even though it’s only just past (the new) 8:30…


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Erin Thompson

Erin Thompson spent years managing her own blog about budgeting and debt. Because of that, she has great insights not only about managing spending and borrowing but also about running websites profitably. When she's not writing articles for us, she's traveling and looking for new types of wines to try.
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