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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

will we ever get rid of Daylight Savings Time?


The U.K. got an extra hour of sleep last Saturday night; this weekend it’s the U.S. and Canada’s turn to change the clocks back to standard time. The idea of fooling with the clocks so that the extended hours of sun in the summer coincide with the clock hours that we’ve accustomed ourselves to being out and about during has been around for centuries, but it got started in earnest — in the U.S., at least — during World War II, started by FDR as an energy-conservation measure.

Whether there’s any real benefit to fiddling with the clocks is debatable, but there’s seems to be plenty of evidence that there are real negative impacts. From Jessica Damiano at Newsday:

A California Energy Commission report maintains that little — if any — energy benefit is actually attained when we switch to DST. ABC News has reported that the annual switch messes with people’s internal clock and can lower work productivity. And the New England Journal of Medicine has asserted that the annual shifts from DST to standard time and back can actually increase your chances of a heart attack.

So: Will we ever get rid of Daylight Savings Time? Would you want to get us all back on the same clock year-round? What would it take to make this happen?

(If you have a suggestion for a Question, feel free to email me.)

  • Yes, God yes. DST is a barbaric practice that needs to go the way of the dodo. Unfortunately getting rid of it now would be an order of magnitude more work than setting it up was in the first place.

  • Bluejay

    We could do a passive-aggressive thing where, instead of changing the DST laws, everyone just changed their business hours so that the internal clock remains the same.

  • Danielm80

    In some countries, there’s a tradition of a siesta, and people take a nap in the middle of the day. I think we should start taking a siesta right at the beginning of the workday.

  • Bluejay

    Reminds me of a standup routine. I can’t remember who the comedian was, but after he was introduced he walked onstage and just stood in front of the mic for a few minutes, reading a newspaper and sipping from a cup of coffee. After a while he looked up at the audience and said, “What? When you go to work, do YOU start right away?”

  • Overflight

    No freaking way. If there’s one thing I hate is arriving at work while it’s still dark, and I’d like to avoid that as much as possible thank you.

    I guess in that case what it would take is flexible work ours worldwide…

  • RogerBW

    The only point of it now is to enshrine the outdated and dangerous concept of “everyone arrives at work and leaves it at the same time”. Spread out those rush-hour commuters and you get a public transport system that actually works (and roads ditto); and how many jobs really need a specific person to be at their desk at the exact same instant you are, as long as someone’s covering the hours?

  • Leonid Saykin

    sure lets start with Imperial system first. Which I am sure that the only people who care about it are the science geeks

  • RogerBW

    A comment/short story on the subject by someone else whose blog I read:


  • althea

    By Jove, I thought I was the only one who remembers that! I wish I could remember who it was, it would be fun to see if he’s still around.

  • LaSargenta

    I would just like to actually live with the seasons and natural variations in daylight and dark hours wherever I am. I am a bit of a night-owl, by the way, so this isn’t just about sunlight.

  • DyNama

    i love daylight saving time! when i read a book on the history of DST back in 2007―there are at least 2 books on the subject!―i couldn’t find anyone who really hated it. my mother said it gives her daylight to work in her garden after work, so it really does save daylight. our measure of time is totally arbitrary anyway, so adjusting it for our convenience and/or pleasure doesn’t bother me at all.

  • NorthernStar

    As someone who suffers from SAD, the clocks going back to GMT is a relief. I walk the 2 miles into work every morning to get the natural light I need (as soon as I’m in work, in the depths of a hospital, I’m lucky to pass a window) and the switch guarantees a brighter light. Remaining on BST, as some have suggested, would be awful for me and others affected by SAD.

    And despite the loss of an hour in bed when the clocks go forward, its wonderful to have more light to enjoy in the evenings.

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