Before kids, Daylight Saving Time was most likely thought of as something that either got you an extra hour of sleep or meant that you lost an hour of sleep. If you got an extra hour, maybe you planned a night out and took advantage of it. If you lost an hour, you made an attempt to get to sleep early while cursing that loss. It might have taken you a day or two to get back into the swing of it but overall you had didn’t dread it. It was something that came and went twice a year. Then you had kids, and Daylight Saving Time became that dreaded event that wreaked havoc on your home.
If this is the way you feel, then know that you're not alone. Maybe when you have a teenager that loves sleeping in, you can start to reap the benefits of that extra hour of sleep or commiserate together about the lost hour. But until then, there are no benefits to parents for observing Daylight Saving Time. If your child wakes up at 6 am every morning, they likely won’t get the memo about the clocks changing and they’re natural sleep rhythms will continue. This means that when you’re supposed to get an extra hour, you’ll get absolutely nothing. When you lose an hour, you’ll just end up with a cranky child that doesn’t understand why you’re waking them up.
According to a new survey from the Better Sleep Council, about half of all American parents say Daylight Saving Time (DST) affects their children. More than one-quarter (29 percent) report it’s more difficult to get children to sleep after the time change. Of those parents who report bedtime challenges for their kids after DST, 94 percent report it takes two or more days for kids to get back into their regular sleep pattern, and 31 percent say it takes six days or more.
This survey showed that moms are slightly more likely to have negative feelings about Daylight Saving Time than dads. It also showed that stay at home parents feel less affected by it than parents with kids who have to be up at a scheduled time because of school or other childcare provisions. Unemployed parents don’t mind the change in schedule as much as their employed counterparts About half of the parents surveyed reported that they already frequently struggle to get their kids to sleep every night, and about 25 percent said that they felt their kids already weren’t getting enough sleep without the disruption of Daylight Saving Time. Parents said that they looked least forward to the hour lost and really didn’t benefit from the hour gained.
Daylight Saving Time first began to be practiced in the United States in 1918 and the initial reason for implementing it was to save fuel used to heat homes and light lamps during World War I. It was briefly done away with after the war ended, but came back to stay for good nationwide in the United States in 1966. Proponents of Daylight Saving Time thought that it would save energy and help make the most of sunlight hours when the seasons change. In the spring, the hours of daylight get longer and we set our clocks forward an hour to make up for the lengthening days. In the fall, the hours of daylight get shorter and we set our clocks back an hour to make up for the shortening days.
While Daylight Saving Time may have had some energy-saving benefits in the early 19th century, it's questionable whether or not this is still true. Whereas people used to have a legitimate 9 to 5 work schedule, it’s more typical for people to work from home at all hours of the day, or work demanding jobs that often require night and weekend work. This means that the workday isn’t depicted by whether or not it's light or dark out. Unlike our ancestors who were worried about saving fuel, we tend to use energy nonstop with our millions of devices of convenience. There are opponents of Daylight Saving Time who argue that the disruption in sleep cycles and the time it takes to adjust may be doing more harm than good.
Only 70 countries worldwide observe Daylight Saving time, which means that the majority of them don't. This leads some to the conclusion that if these countries don’t adhere to this crazy ritual and are doing fine, why can’t we give parents a break by doing away with it in the United States?