Welcome back, Standard Time!

You hear a lot, from those in favor of year-'round Daylight Saving Time, about the many advantages of DST. Here's an article that claims better advantages for year-'round Standard Time. A few points:

More than 80 medical, education and religious organizations, including the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Society for Research in Biological Rhythms, would like to see the nation embrace standard time year-round.

Around the world, about 70 countries observe summertime daylight saving time, although changes are on the horizon. In October, a working group of European non-governmental organizations and researchers urged European Union member states to adopt permanent time zones as close as possible to their solar time. Also in October, Mexico’s Senate voted to abolish daylight saving time in favor of permanent standard time.

From the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November, we pretend the sun rises and sets an hour later than it does. Our minds may tolerate that, but our brains know better. They remain on sun time, which is aligned more closely with standard time. At noon on standard time in the middle of each time zone, the sun is directly overhead. Morning sunlight, the body’s most potent time-setting cue, tethers us to the Earth’s 24-hour day/night cycle. Exposure to sunlight soon after we awaken governs inner clocks that control sleep, alertness, mood, body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, hunger, cell division and hundreds of other bodily functions. When we shift to daylight saving time, our morning light exposure drops. Our biological clocks fall out of sync. We pay a price: Daylight saving time’s lighter, longer evenings make it harder to fall asleep. We sleep less. Darker mornings make it harder to awaken, shrug off drowsiness and feel alert.

Having lived in several places in the Northeast as well as Florida, I understand why some people are attracted to DST. When we lived in Boston, it was disconcerting to see the sun so low in the sky in midafternoon! But why Florida's senators are leading the charge for permanent DST is beyond me.

I think Rick Scott has been a better senator than he was a governor, and I hope Marco Rubio is re-elected on Tuesday, but they're both idiots on this topic. In an e-mail I received today, Senator Scott said,

Changing the clock twice a year is outdated and unnecessary. We need to give families in Florida more sunshine, not less! I’m proud to be leading this bipartisan legislation with Senator Rubio that makes a much-needed change and benefits so many in Florida and across the nation.

They are clearly not representing Florida, as we elected them to do, because DST makes no sense here, closer to the equator. And it is embarrassingly obvious that you don't get a minute's worth more sunshine by changing the clocks.

Back to the article.

A person living in New York City who typically gets up at 7 a.m. will be forced to awaken before sunrise 164 days a year on permanent daylight saving time, according to an interactive chart on the website of the nonprofit Save Standard Time.... In Miami, on Florida’s southern tip, a person arising at 7 a.m. would awaken before sunrise a whopping 232 days a year on permanent daylight saving time. They’d miss exposure to the body clock-setting sunlight cue on awakening 7.6 months a year.

A friend who lives in Indiana, on the western edge of the eastern time zone, reports that under permanent DST the sun wouldn't rise until after 9 a.m. in the winter. At that point, I would already have been up and working for at least four hours! Even those who have more average schedules would be well into their work day while still in the dark.

Honestly, what do we gain by having light at night instead of in the morning? After a long, hard day of work or school, how many of our evening hours are actually productive? Or spent outside in the sun? Are they rather more often than not spent inside, watching flickering device-light rather than sunlight?

Back in March, our Senate voted in favor of permanent daylight saving time. The House, thus far, has shown more sense, and remains on board with Nature.

Year-'round DST would be unnatural and (dare I say it?) Eurocentric.

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, November 6, 2022 at 7:44 pm | Edit
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Quitting the pointless clock-switching is 100x more important to me than whether we stay on DST or standard time. I have a mild preference for standard time because it puts the sun at the top of the sky at 12pm, and is thus more "correct". But really, what difference does it make whether we're on standard time or daylight time? It has zero effect on how much daylight we have. In the long term, any nominal stickiness (such as school and work start times) should give way to local decision making that takes sunrise and sunset times into account.

Posted by Peter V on Monday, November 07, 2022 at 12:11 pm
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