This week, the Florida Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act, a proposal for the state to stay in daylight saving time throughout the year. That's not happening, because the federal government controls time, but the people of Florida have the right idea. Summer time begins this Sunday, but it should last in perpetuity, allowing us to live in a world of afternoon light.
It is easy to complain about losing an hour of sleep and Daylight Savings is not popular. A 2014 survey found that only 33 percent of people see the meaning of this, and there have been proposals in Europe to completely eliminate the change. The research seems to support this. The lost dream is a real problem and, what is more worrisome, some studies suggest that "jumping forward" can cause more car accidents.
But listen to me. People do not hate summer time. Summer time does not kill. The transition to Daylight Savings kills. The transition is what we must eliminate. The risk of loss of sleep and dangerous driving increases when our frail bodies get used to the schedule, and then returns to normal. To get rid of the transition, one of the time zones has to go. And we must maintain summer time, a situation that leaves us with longer, safer and more relaxing days.
So why have a perpetual summer time instead of perpetual standard time? Some have argued in favor because of the energy savings since we do not need to turn on the lights early in the evening. (After all, that is why we started the summer time in 1918.) However, the savings are small, and summer time can increase the demand for heating and cooling.
No, the main advantage of perpetual summer time is the higher quality of life. The darkness in the night is much worse than the darkness in the morning, and I say it as a person in the morning who usually wakes up before 6 AM. Our bodies have natural biological rhythms, or chronotypes, that are extremely difficult to change. Most of us, naturally, want to sleep between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., but up to 40 percent of us do not fit into that mold. A small study on the distribution of chronotypes found that about 18 percent were people in the morning, then, the kind of people who will be sad because it is darker when they are ready and ready to work. However, 27 percent are nightly types, and these are the people who will benefit from the perpetual daylight savings. In addition, night owls are already unfairly stigmatized; At least we can give them this.
I am not a fan of working in the dark, but mornings are usually a quiet and contemplative time to work on other projects. In the morning, you go to work and, frankly, for most people, there is a limit to how good the mornings can be. They are not the center of your social day.
The nights are. For most people, nights are when we relax and see friends, or exercise, and early darkness makes this less attractive. Meeting a friend for a meal at 7 p.m. in darkness it is unpleasant. When it's dark, we get lazy, we want to go home and sleep. The night hours are wasted and, for most of us, the night hours are much more important for hobbies or socialization.
In addition, summer time is safer. More people, even children, have night events than morning events. Durable light makes it safer for runners and cyclists, or for children on game dates, while the previous sunset leads to more street crimes.
This problem has been around for a long time. It is common for states to approve propositions that suggest adjustments, in addition to Florida, New Hampshire, Maine and Rhode Island, which have also tried to stop with the change. There is not much that states can do until the federal government takes notice. But when it does, the choice is clear. Let the light triumph over the darkness.