The Orange County Register/MCT
Every first Sunday of November, students gain one hour of sleep back, while every second Sunday of March, we lose one as finals and the spring sports season looms. With “fall back” approaching quickly, we need to reevaluate our policy regarding daylight savings to realize that adopting permanent Daylight Savings Time (DST) would be better for students as well as their mental health. This means we would adopt the time between March and November for the duration of the entire year.
While gaining an extra hour of sleep may sound pleasant, according to Insider, studies have shown an increase in suicide rates after each time change. It creates a disruption in the circadian rhythm of our sleep cycles, which takes a toll on mental health. Along with this, suicide is the second leading cause of death for high schoolers according to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.
Adopting permanent DST is not a solution to suicide, but it would help combat one factor that can lead to it. Permanent DST would also increase the efficiency of students.
DST would also allow daylight in the evening hours. Instead of the sun setting at 4:30 p.m. during the winter, it would set at 5:30 p.m. Student-athletes would still see the sun as they leave school. Swimmers, for example, wake up in the dark and make their way into school. When they leave these doors again after practice, it is dark once more.
This also means if we adopted permanent DST, student drivers would have a lower accident rate. Higher accident risk occurs when it is dark outside, and when coupled with the exhaustion of a long day at school, accidents become even more likely.
Adopting permanent DST, however, is trickier than dropping out of it altogether and adopting standard time year-round. The Sunshine Protection Act, which would adopt DST nationwide, needs to be passed by Congress first.
Luckily for us, President Donald Trump is in favor of passing this bill, having proudly proclaimed in a tweet, “Making Daylight Saving Time permanent is O.K. with me!”
While adopting permanent DST won’t be easy, it would help increase the safety and efficiency of students as well as help to combat one cause of suicide.