Debatable: Make Daylight Savings Permanent

Debatable: Make Daylight Savings Permanent
Winter Evening in Crested Butte

Daylight Savings Time just ended in much of the US, and with the change, I was reminded how much I hate moving the clocks back an hour each fall.

The length of daylight is rapidly dwindling in the Northern Hemisphere at this time of year, and I’m not the least bit interested in wasting any of it. I’m perfectly happy to wake up in the dark, and would gladly trade that for more usable daylight hours in the afternoon and evening. And so for that reason, it’s critical to my proposal that we pick DST as the standard time to settle on, rather than going the other way and abandoning DST altogether. Changing times twice a year is annoying, but manageable. Wasting precious winter daylight hours with sleep is nonsense.

Of course, I could just decide to wake up earlier, and in some ways make the change for myself. But that’s very much a half measure. It’s not just my own schedule that matters, but also that of the people I interact with. I’d much rather have more time for afternoon bike rides with friends, to go for a walk with my partner after we wrap up the workday, and so on. Abandoning Daylight Savings Time in the fall is an impediment to all that, and for what?

Infuriatingly, 19 states (including my home state of Washington) have passed legislation to do just that, but aren’t allowed to implement the change without Congressional approval, which has yet to come. I’ve been hoping to be rid of this scourge for years, only to be disappointed that Congress hasn’t acted.

There’s probably an argument to be made that having neighboring states observing a patchwork of Daylight Savings and Standard time would be a headache, but that’s not really a case for inaction — it just means that everyone should make the change. Hawaii and Arizona are the only two states that don’t observe DST currently, and (1) Hawaii is in its own time zone anyway, so whatever, and (2) Arizona and its neighbors have managed for this long — and it’ll only get easier if the difference is at least consistent, rather than changing seasonally.

Permanent Daylight Savings Time would clearly make my life better, and I think it would improve yours, too. Let’s make this happen.

What Do You Think?

Do you agree that we should make DST permanent, or is wintertime morning light that important to you? Let us know in the comments. 

18 comments on “Debatable: Make Daylight Savings Permanent”

  1. We just voted on this up in Alberta, it unfortunately failed by 0.4%. Interestingly, Sunshine ski resort sent out an email telling people to vote against it because they’d have to open at 10 AM instead of 9. I presume they’d also close an hour later so I don’t really see how that’s a problem, it would also mean I could start driving at 6 AM instead of 5 AM when I go to the mountains so it would have been great for me… but no, 0.4%

    • I knew there was going to be pushback on my modest DST proposal, but metric shouldn’t even be a debate. Absolutely yes to that too.

  2. Another Albertan here… I voted against year round DST, in part because I prefer to have ski hills open at 9:00 not 10:00. I would have voted yes if year round standard time had been an option since I dislike the biannual time change. I think if more people read up on the effects of year round DST it might be easier to get everyone behind standard time. A couple of quick google hits:

  3. No,, absolutely not! Like you mention wanting to go out the afternoon, I instead go on a quick ski tour in the morning before work. When I climb up it’s still dark, but coming down there’s light. With permanent DST I would lose that. Permanent standard time is stupid too, that would make sunrise at 4AM in the north east during the summer, which is nuts.

    Comments above make good points too. Definitely go metric.

  4. As a resident of Alaska , all I can say is that daylight savings makes ZERO sense here. With how fast the amount of daylight we get expands and contracts for much of the year , combined with how long OR how short the daylight actually lasts (for example , today sunrise was after 9am and sunset will be just after 4 , and the days will only get shorter until winter solstice) , DST is totally meaningless.

  5. The fact that Washington was able to make legal weed happen so long ago, but is still seeking congressional approval to make this happen is hilarious and infuriating.

  6. In most of my life I prefer DST, but for spring skiing it comes too early in the year. Slope still too firm at opening time, then closes too early.

  7. I’ve been advocating for permanent DST for years. I don’t need light in the early morning when I’m trying to sleep, I want light in the late afternoon when my kids want to play outside after they get home from school and when I want to spend time outside after getting off work.

    As it is now in NJ, the sun rises at 6:45am, when everyone is asleep, and sets at 4:40pm – a mere 40 minutes after my kids get home from school and while most people are still at work. My kids want to be outside playing, and don’t like that it gets dark and cold so soon. And getting off from work to only to see that it’s already dark outside is just depressing.

  8. No. Some people like to get their butt out of bed and get some quality time outside before work. Don’t ruin it for be because you can’t carpe diem.

  9. What about people who like to do morning runs and prefer the safety of daylight? Many runners do like to start their day with a run. Or morning Cross country skiers?

    I am 100% with you that we should keep daylight savings time longer, or if we are ever forced to go to one time zone it should definitely be Daylight Savings, but there are some benefits for changing to standard time briefly. Northern Latitudes really miss out on Daylight. I much prefer Daylight Savings time but the switch is a small one during the dark months. Not too burdensome.

  10. By now a plenty of medical research show that the time change is not good for our health. More heart attacks occur on the first three days after the time change (both directions). The first day being the worst. So far the most sources correlating stress as the main cause. Also instead of DST, the normal time zone hour is indicated to be healthier for humans. My guess is that we (animal/humans as naturally occurring living organisms) are still relying on our circadian rhythms/bio-rhythms to optimally heal and recharge our body and mind, despite our modern productivity oriented societal norms. So I say yes to get rid of the time change but stick with sun-dial close to the noon and the darkest close to midnight, ie the normal time.

  11. First thought is, just pick one time zone and stop f–king with it. Second, what if we (Washingtonians) just didn’t turn our clocks ahead in the spring? What could/would the federal government do to us? Third, yes, let’s switch over to the metric system – start teaching it in kindergarten and in 12 years it will be fully implemented.

  12. While growing up in a state on the western edge of a time zone that didn’t observe DST, I longed for those post 9PM summer sunsets enjoyed by neighboring states. Now living on the eastern edge of a time zone, I kinda wish the times were flipped so I could drive home from skiing in daylight and (possibly) more easily get my kid to sleep in the summer with an earlier sunset. Maybe we should split the diff and go :30 towards the middle and make that the new permanent time. If we stuck with one time or the other, I wonder if many schools and businesses would just change hours with the seasons to better match life and circadian rhythm with daylight. My line of work often spans several time zones a day/week, so I roll my eyes at the whole thing because I’ve basically set myself up for rhythm failure until I retire. Right now I wish the weather would realize it’s time for ski season!

  13. Permanent DST is well supported in British Columbia (93% support in 2019 gov’t survey) but frustratingly the BC Gov’t has said they will only move forward if Wash, Oregon, California do the same… (due to “business concerns”).

    The fall switch is also linked to a rise in traffic collisions in northern latitudes due to the sudden darkness during the evening commute. The twice a year time change is linked to impacts on sleep, mental health, increased risk of heart attack…

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