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Why do we change the clocks for Daylight Saving Time?

Posted at 1:20 PM, Nov 04, 2018

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DENVER — Daylight Saving Time (DST) has been tossed around since Benjamin Franklin's time. But in recent years more people are wondering why we continue to change the clocks. 

"We have got to stop blaming the farmers,” said Scott Yates, lead organizer for the Lock the Clock Movement. “It turns out that the farmers have always been against changing the clock for Daylight Saving Time.”

"Lock the Clock" is a group against the practice of changing the clocks in and out of DST.

“Nobody likes to have to change the clock. Nobody likes coming home from work when it is dark in November, and nobody especially likes having the sleep taken away from them in the spring — so we want to just pick one time zone and stick with that all year long,” said Yates.

According to Professor Ken Wright, director of CU Boulder’s Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory, falling back one-hour to standard time is actually good for us.

“When we get this extra hour of sleep opportunity this is associated with a 5 percent decrease in the risk of heart attacks come Monday morning," said Wright.

Wright said fall is not the time to worry, but come spring that’s a different story. The reason for this, said Wright, is people in the U.S. don’t get enough sleep, and when they are deprived of sleep they experience stress, which can have some harmful side effects.

"When we lose that hour of sleep in the spring not only do we have a 5 percent increase in heart attacks, but there's an 8 percent increased risk of strokes and a 17 percent increased risk of dying at the wheel on the highway,” said Wright.

Florida currently has a bill aiming to stop DST. Senator Marco Rubio is trying to run a bill through Congress, and California has a ballot initiative. Europe is also seeking to do away with the twice-yearly time transitions and instead use daylight time year round.

In Colorado, state leaders brought up bills in the last session to ditch the time changes but were met with pushback they said especially from the ski industry.

“They just didn't like it one way or the other,” said Phil Covarrubias, State Representative for House District 56 (R). 

Representative Covarrubias said they also spoke with the trucking and airline industries and took polls from residents living in Colorado.

"Ninety-six to 98 percent of the people in Colorado were just like, hey one way or the other they prefer more light in the evening,” said Covarrubias.

He said other states nearby are also pushing for similar legislation.

“Oklahoma, New Mexico, Wyoming, a lot of these other states are all trying to get rid of it as well,” said Covarrubias.