While Daylight Saving Time Does Mean That You Lose 1 Hour of Sleep, It Has 9 Amazing Benefits

If you believe that when it’s time to spring your clock forward it’s for the worst, you’re not alone. Daylight Saving Time is here this weekend, forcing some of us to lose an hour in our days, all in the name of something that many of us still have a hard time accepting.

This year we’ll be jumping forward on Sunday, March 8th, 2020 at 2:00 AM EST. To clarify, if you’re somehow awake at that time, you’ll move your clock one hour forward so it will be 3 AM EST. This is how we’ll all live until November 1st, 2020, when we’ll “fall back” once again — except the people of Florida, who have decided after this springing forward, they’ll be staying in THAT time from now on.

While we struggle with getting our circadian rhythms on track, discussions are lighting up the media about the pros and cons of this annual practice. You might not believe this, but setting your clock ahead has some benefits.

Meant to help us bask in more sunlight, daylight saving time is in effect in only 70% of countries. Let’s look at some of the reasons it’s considered a good thing.

  1. Crime Won’t Pay

    With more daylight stretching into the evening hours, criminals won’t have the cover of night to back them up. Although there are bad guys who will be brazenly bad at any time of the day, longer days and shorter nights equal less time for nightly marauding. This Brookings report supports that there is indeed a drop in crime after DST.

  2. Better Mood

    The extra sunlight has been shown to improve the effects of winter blues, mitigating the gloominess that less light can bring.

  3. Help the Economy

    Being out and about doing activities during daylight means more shopping, services, and sporting activities for the whole family. Workers work later, and people shop and play later in the day. That’s consumer dollars being well spent.

  4. Meet Weight Loss Goals

    One study has shown a connection between an increase in vitamin D and the ability to lose weight for women. Those who bumped up their vitamin D along exercise and changing their diets lost more than those who dieted and worked out.

  5. Spend More Time Outdoors

    More daylight in the evenings can translate to more physical activity, barbecues, and other fun stuff that you can do outside, especially when the weather shifts to warmer temps. Hello, summer nights!

  6. Save Money on Your Light Bill

    It may be marginal, but you get to leave the lights off for longer in the evenings because you have the help of solar rays. Enjoy the natural light, which is also better for your eyes!

  7. Improve Your Sleep

    There’s a segment of the population who sleep way longer than the average 7-9 hours per night during the winter. Something about less sunlight makes people want to stay in bed, increasing their risk for hypersomnia. Those prone to it and the winter blues have low energy during the day from getting too much sleep. When the time changes, so do sleep patterns.

  8. Safer Roads

    People like to debate this one, but roads are more visible in the light and therefore accidents decline. Though the first week or so of adjusting is rough, researchers found that even with heavier traffic in the evenings, it’s better.

  9. Watch a Sunrise

    If you’re up and at ’em, you get to catch a glimpse of a colorful sunrise in the morning!

What’s your stance on Daylight Saving Time? Do you prefer falling back or springing forward? Have you noticed any advantages to setting the clock ahead?

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center