Every year, twice a year, Americans not living in Hawaii and Arizona go through the ritual of changing the clocks–even though it’s not entirely clear why we still do it anymore.

The reason most of the developed Western world adopted daylight savings time was ostensibly to save energy and brighten moods by giving people more leisure time in the sunlight during the summer, allowing them to remain outside and thereby reduce electricity costs in the home.

As you might be able to surmise, there are a number of problems with that today. No longer are our days and nights so regimented as they used to be; as we’ve moved away from fluorescent lighting, the cost of electricity use from pure light has decreased markedly; and a large number of hot, arid states would actually be better served by reducing the number of waking hours spent in the sun.

Indeed, it’s not at clear that daylight savings time saves us any energy at all. It does, however, lead to spikes in both suicide and sleep deprivation, with great cost to society and productivity.

For more on the futility of continuing the tradition, see CGP Grey’s excellent video below:

YouTube video

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David Atkins

Follow David on Twitter @DavidOAtkins. David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.