The thirteenth public holiday

Jonas Doerr-

The collective population of the United States of America just lost one hour of sleep. That, by the most recent count, comes out to 331.9 million hours. While that is about 0.1 million hours less than the amount of sleep Gusties lose studying for finals, it is still significant.

But is there any acknowledgment of this profound disruption to our sleep schedules? Any form of compensation for adding one more barb at the end of winter? Currently, no.

The obvious solution is to end Daylight Savings Time, but while a bill doing just that passed the Senate, it stalled in the House last year. There’s no need, however, to take such drastic action. Instead, Congress should choose a solution that will make everyone happy: making Daylight Savings Time a national holiday.

Last November, I avoided the “fall back” because I was in China, where not only is there no daylight savings time, but there are also no time zones. While no one is complaining about gaining an extra hour of sleep, I didn’t have to change any watches or look for the mysterious time change button in a car radio. It felt far more logical, and I didn’t have to adjust my sleep schedule.

Americans might not be too receptive to copying China’s governmental policies, but a Daylight Savings public holiday would be an entirely unique solution. As public holidays that fall on a Sunday are celebrated on Mondays in the US, this holiday would give Americans a full day to rest and reset their sleep schedules.

Even on a usual holiday, we often cannot take a break to rest. There are turkeys to cook, burgers to grill, parties to attend, and gifts to wrap. If we introduced a holiday without associated traditions or celebrations, maybe we could actually get some rest. According to the CDC, 1 in 3 adults in the US report not sleeping enough. This new holiday could change that for one day, at least.

Aside from being a good opportunity to promote healthy sleeping habits, the new Daylight Savings Day would be a good opportunity to promote saving in general. The personal savings rate in America, according to YCharts, is at 3.8% of disposable income, far lower than the longtime national average of 8.48%. And according to CNBC, nearly half of Americans have less than $1000 in their savings. While rising inflation and decreasing real wages are making it difficult to invest in the future, saving is essential for enduring emergencies and preparing for retirement.

Along with saving both daylight and money, the new holiday could also promote saving electricity, which was the original reason for the creation of Daylight Savings Time. According to the US Energy Information Administration, Americans used over 4 trillion kilowatts of electricity in 2022, the highest amount ever. 38.4% of that consumption came from the largest category of consumers: residential users. Much of that comes from heating and cooling, meaning this holiday could be a good reminder to ease off on the thermostat and turn down the heat a bit during those long, hot showers.

Savings Day, as it ought to be called, would be the thirteenth national holiday, rounding out our schedule of holidays to the original number of colonies and the number of stripes on our flag. It would certainly be more logical than at least one of the existing holidays.

Columbus Day celebrates what, exactly? The discovery of the Americas? There were already people there, and Columbus thought he was in India, anyway. Some places have started calling it Indigenous People’s Day, who certainly deserve a day celebrating them, but the official national holiday is still called Columbus Day. Savings Day would make much more sense than Columbus Day.

As mentioned before, it would be a popular decision to pass a bill giving people another day to sleep. Although apparently, something stands in the way of removing Daylight Savings altogether, I think most people would be more inclined to re-elect someone who gave them another holiday to celebrate.

If a new national holiday is too much to ask, we can take smaller steps as well. States are allowed to create their own holidays; why not have a Minnesota Savings Day? When its well-rested population becomes the envy of the Midwest, we might get a National Savings Day.

Apart from that, why not start with a Gustavus Savings Day? The day of learning lost would be made up for by increased productivity the rest of the week. Sleepy students have poor memories and poor participation. And, while students might be thinking about their loans more than their IRAs, it would be a good opportunity to introduce principles of saving and investing for them to use once they have a disposable income. So, all in all, support Savings Day!

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