Monday, March 12, 2018

A Commentary on Daylight Savings Time

So here is my problem with Daylight Savings Time. Just when I get a routine set that is starting to work, the clocks spring forward an hour and throw a wrench in the entire mix.

I appreciate seeing more of the sun, trust me I do. However, the natural flux of the season is sufficient. We don't need to shift the hour and get our bodies out of sync.

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Now that we are approaching the spring equinox, the balance of the day is beautiful. I see the sun in the morning and the evening. It is finally starting to get warmer and the sun is showing itself to the Pacific Northwest once again.

And then, Daylight Savings Time throws me off.

Here in Seattle, Washington, at the peak of summer, the sun doesn't go down until about 10 pm. That makes it very hard to go to sleep at a reasonable time. Without Daylight Savings Time, the sun would set about 9 pm. Honestly, a much better time to promote a better sleeping pattern for summer.

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Daylight savings time has a sordid history to begin with. The United States officially adopted Daylight Savings Time during World War I, but it was unpopular and was removed soon afterward.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed it temporarily into law again during World War II. Again, the law fell away after the war ended. However in 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed a bill creating a law where Daylight Savings time began on the last Sunday of April and ended on the last Sunday of October each year. This changed again under Ronald Reagan and then yet again by President Bush.

Bush signed the Energy Policy Act in 2005 "To ensure jobs for our future with secure, affordable, and reliable energy." This gave a number of tax breaks and also extended Daylight Savings Time by four weeks to end in November instead of October.

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I always thought Daylight Savings Time was created to help the farmers. An extra hour of daylight at the end of the day to harvest the fields seems like a good thing. However, it turns out the opposite is true. The farmers are the only ones to actively lobby against Daylight Savings Time because the lost hour in the morning meant they had to rust to get their crops to market.

Dairy farmers in particular despised the time change because the cows did not adjust well to schedule shifts. Neither do I! Or my kid, or my cat. The supposed benefits of Daylight Savings Time do not in any way make up for the altercation of the internal clock.

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The myth that Daylight Savings Time helps us to be happier and healthier is also completely debunked. According to The Washington Post, the disruption of sleep cycles and circadian rhythm increases the chance for workplace accidents.

So my question is...if we know it isn't really useful and actually has negative effects, then why do we still use it?

My conclusion is that change is hard. It's like the old roast story:


We use Daylight Savings Time because for as long as we remember, we have. We haven't really given it much thought to why we would need it anymore or how it effects us as a human being and society.

I'm not the only one who has thought of this. I found this article by The Smithsonian:


There isn't really an answer. I don't know why we do it, but here we are again springing our clocks forward and drinking coffee to try and keep up. 

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Happy Monday after Daylight Savings Time!
Drink lots of coffee and we'll get through this together.


16 comments:

  1. I respectfully dissent -- I like DST and always have. Easy for me to say now that we're retired and can sleep whenever, but I liked it back when I was still working ... it was so great to have long evenings, not have to drive home from work in the dark or almost dark. (We lived in the PNW back then as you do.)

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  2. I appreciate your opinion! I need a little bit of positivity to keep me going. It is nice to see so much sun. I suppose it is really just the transition that is difficult.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! Have a great week :)

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  3. Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by! It is nice not to be the only one :)

      Have a great week!

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  4. I have never enjoyed DST. I feel vindicated by all the information you have gathered. I find it terribly disruptive and would try to laugh it off as "only an hour." Years ago I was told it was so the kids wouldn't have to walk to school in the dark. There is no time change in AZ and that was the one thing I liked about it! But I haven't lived there in nearly 30 years! I am one who wishes they would just get rid of changing the times and let nature take its course! :)

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    1. It would be very interesting to live or visit Arizona in the summer with no Daylight Savings. I think it sounds nice. It is amazing how "only an hour" disrupts everything for a couple of days. Oh well, at least it is closer to summer!

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! Have a great week :)

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  5. I'm so glad I'm the only one suffering here. I am STRUGGLING to wake up on time to get things done before my toddler wakes up. I feel so much less productive, I'm tired in the afternoon, and I can't sleep at night. It's ridiculous! But at least summer is close by!

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    Replies
    1. Spring is so close, I can feel it! Yes, that restless tiredness is exactly what I'm experiencing too. It will all work out, it usually does. It just takes a few days to transition and then we'll get our groove back. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! Have a great week :)

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  6. Amanda,

    I like the longer days of sunlight but like you mentioned the earth's natural progression around the sun provides the right measure of evening light during the summer. We go to bed usually through the week around 9 but I find it difficult to get sleepy if there is any light streaming through the windows, so 10pm sunsets would drive me bonkers. I'd have to get a black velvet cloth to drape over my bedroom window. :) The first meme of the old wise Indian says it all about the government. lol

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    1. Yes, we do have those heavy curtains to pull over the windows or I would hardly sleep in the summer. As the Summer Solstice draws closer it will be light out in the morning, but right now we are waking up in the dark again. It makes it hard to get going in the mornings. Now that I'm getting adjusted again, it's mostly okay, but still, it would be so much easier for everyone to do without the time change.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! Have a great week:)

      Delete
  7. Those were fun, I like how the Indian thinks.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I'm glad I found that one. I think it sums it up perfectly!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Have a great week!

      Delete
  8. Daylight Savings Time really is an emotive issue. I found your post very interesting and I really enjoyed reading the history of it. In England people really look forward to Daylight Savings because we crave the extra hour of sunlight. We don't get a lot of sun in England - On Christmas Day it is normally dark by 2 to 3pm! We don't actually go on to daylight savings until two weeks later than the US though. It's very strange as I'm in the US at the moment, going home today, so I'll actually experience the time change twice this year! I'm sorry you find the change so unsettling though. Thank you so much for sharing this very interesting post with us at the Hearth and Soul Link Party.

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  9. Good luck in your travels! That really is an early time for it to be dark. Our peak makes it dark a little after 4 pm during the winter solstice. I wish we could have daylight savings in the winter, now that would be useful.

    I would have a hard time moving time zones all the time too. Though I suppose, like most other things you get used to it. We moved from eastern time zone to pacific time zone (a three hour difference) almost four years ago. The first year going back and forth was really hard on all of us. It isn't as hard this year. Now, it is more about having patience with myself during the transition.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! Have a great week :)

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  10. This is a very useful article thanks for sharing and like me. Current Trends in Finance

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Thanks for the lovely comment! I love to hear your thoughts.

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