The end of winter is nigh, and you know what that means: It’s almost time for sandals, shorter sleeves, and bright colors. No more bulky winter coats, chunky turtleneck sweaters, or heavy snow boots to deal with (at least we hope). One of the best things to look forward to, though, is the start of Daylight Savings Time (DST), which provides vitamin D-loving humans with an extra hour of glorious sunshine. The question remains, though: When do we push our clocks forward in 2018?
In 2018, DST begins on Sunday, March 11th at 2 a.m. At that time, we push our clocks forward by one hour to 3 a.m. It technically means we’re losing an hour of sleep. But the added dose of daylight does help balance out the bit of extra grogginess, at least a little.
While there’s much to be said about the negative aspects of DST, there are research-backed benefits. For example, Popular Mechanics cites the “increased exercise, increased socializing, and overall improvements to mental health that come with sunlight.” In addition, the Brookings Institute found a 7% reduction in daily crime after the start of DST. The idea is that the extra daylight helps deter would-be criminals from committing outdoor crimes like muggings.
Pushing our clocks forward an hour can also result in reduced energy consumption. By relying more on the sun for heating and lighting purposes, we can use less electricity.
Here’s how: Back in 2007, the U.S. government implemented the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which added four extra weeks to DST by changing the start and end dates. In 2008, a group of workers at the Department of Energy studied the impact of the lengthened DST and found that it saved about 0.5% in total electricity per day. That amount of electricity is enough to power more than 100,000 households for a full year!
A reduction in car accidents is another benefit of DST.
While it’s true that traffic accidents rise in the week after we push our clocks forward, the overall effect of eight months of DST is increased driver safety. One study even estimated that year-round DST would reduce fatalities among pedestrians and car occupants.
However you feel about DST, we can all agree: Added sunshine means daily sunscreen becomes even more of a necessity. Lotion up, friends!