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Standard Time or Daylight Saving Time? No One Can Seem to Agree on What We Should Do With Our Clocks

Source: News & Observer

Whether you’re a fan of the switch from daylight-saving time back to standard time or not, we still “fall back” and then “spring forward” every year in most of the United States – and a new poll shows that North Carolinians aren’t too crazy about the time change, The News & Observer reported.

According to a new High Point University online poll conducted in October, just under 50% of 1,000 respondents preferred changing to a year-round daylight saving time, meaning they prefer a darker morning in exchange for more light in the evening. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, 21% of respondents said they preferred changing to a year-round standard time system (earlier sunrise, less light in the evening) and 25% said they want to keep the current system where clocks go back an hour in the fall and ahead an hour in the spring. The remaining 13% of respondents said they were unsure.

Daniel Hall, an economist and dean of High Point University’s Phillips School of Business, explained in the poll’s news release that daylight saving time was adopted during World War I and, according to the Library of Congress, the practice began in 1918 as a way to save electricity during the war.

“The energy savings benefits have been difficult to prove” and “tenuous benefits have diminished while the coordination and switching costs have increased,” Hall said.

Now that it’s been 105 years since it was implemented, people across the country are still debating the merits of the time change. Two U.S. states, Hawaii and Arizona, don’t observe daylight saving time and instead use standard time the entire year. While this is allowed under the federal Uniform Time Act, states are not allowed to observe daylight saving time year-round – at least not yet.

State legislatures, including North Carolina, have debated at least 550 bills to establish year-round daylight saving time once federal law allows it, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported.

North Carolina bills filed in the Senate and House this year would have allowed the state to adopt daylight saving time year-round if approved by Congress. Both, similar to previous bills filed over the years in the state, never amounted to anything.

There have also been attempts to standardize time at the federal level by making daylight saving time permanent through the “Sunshine Protection Act,” which was introduced in 2022. The bill failed because nobody could agree on whether all states should adopt permanent daylight saving time or standard time.

As for the medical community, they appear to mostly be in favor of changing to standard time. The American Medical Association (AMA) says that, according to sleep experts, standard time aligns best with human sleep cycles. The AMA does admit that the chronic effects of remaining in year-round daylight saving time have not been studied at length.

The AMA has also said that the shift from standard time to daylight saving time in March has been tied to the increased risk of adverse cardiovascular incidents, mood disorders and motor vehicle crashes. The AMA was not in favor of the 2022 bill to establish permanent daylight saving time.

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