Saturday, November 6, 2021

I Don't Mind the Time Change

Here's my chance to lack empathy: I have no problem with changing from Standard to Daylight Savings Time and back again. I think it's a good idea.

I live fairly far north in the U.S., where the variation in day length between the solstices is pretty extreme. If we didn't shift the daylight, keeping Standard Time all year, we would have summer daylight starting close to 4 a.m. in late June. If we instead kept Daylight Savings Time all year, as some people advocate, we wouldn't have sunrise until 8:50 a.m. in early January.

Sleep researchers say that having daylight start so early (in Standard Time summers) would not be good for sleep, since daylight is what wakes us up. Conversely, in Daylight Savings Time winters, children would be traveling to school in the dark for even more days than they already are. Ideally, many of those children should be walking, biking, or waiting for school buses. Having to do those things in the dark encourages even more parents to drive their children in cars.

I can't believe 19 states have passed laws to make Daylight Savings Time permanent, including Minnesota. (What? When did that happen?) Legislatures — especially the Minnesota legislature! — can't get done with 90% of what they should accomplish, but they manage to pass this?

Every time I hear a conversation about this topic, it becomes a forum for people who hate the time change to complain (like this one recently on the NPR show 1A), but I have a feeling that the majority of people who aren't much affected by it are not speaking, and that the benefits are recognized by very few of us.

It's almost like it's a harmless thing people still get to complain about, like the weather, in the midst of all the topics we can't broach in "mixed company" these days.

1 comment:

Michael Leddy said...

Wow — I had no idea that states had already passed such legislation. Elaine and I were talking about those possibilities last night and the difficulties that would come about with arranging meetings, travel schedules, all sorts of complications. Springing ahead has always felt strange to me, but this falling back is the easiest time change I can recall. I went to sleep and I woke up and now it’s lunch.