Why I Don’t Care About DST

by Jeff V. on March 15, 2013

Every spring, it’s the same gig. The internet erupts into frustrated cries about the sleep-flummoxing evils of Daylight Savings Time (DST), how it throws you off, causes your sleep to be ruined for two weeks, destroys your family life and causes your children to morph into foam-drooling, bleary-eyed hyenas.

(Okay, I’ll concede that last part might be valid for parents of very young children.)

But for the rest of us? A one-hour jump forward on the clocks so we can enjoy a better daylight window (and by “better” I mean “not insane”, which is what we would get if we remained on Standard Time throughout the year) is cause for such outrage? Do we never stay up late watching TV, go to a late movie, get lost in a good book, or travel to different time zones? We live such regimented lives that ONE HOUR OF SLEEP lost is ruining the next few days of our lives? As Dr. Drang says in a blog post whose comments are already heating up:

Who are these hothouse flowers who always get exactly the same amount of sleep except for that terrible day in March?

I’ll be honest: I sort of agree. And because I’m all about preempting, I won’t even wait to let you get mad at me: email me here about how wrong I am.

Thankfully, among the DST outrage this year (there’s even a petition to ask the government to abolish DST), Dr. Drang’s post is a smart analysis is a rational voice in a busy echo-chamber filled by the howls of the over-tired. (See what I just did there?)

Dr. Drang again:

If we stayed on Standard Time throughout the year, sunrise here in the Chicago area would be between 4:15 and 4:30 am from the middle of May through the middle of July. And if you check the times for civil twilight, which is when it’s bright enough to see without artificial light, you’ll find that that starts half an hour earlier.

This is insane and a complete waste of sunlight. Good for a nation of farmers, I suppose, but of no value to anyone in our current urban/suburban society except those people who get up and go running before work. And I see no reason to encourage them.

What’s that you say? Did Dr. Drang just propose a strawman with regard to keeping things on Standard Time year ’round? Nope:

If, by the way, you think the solution is to stay on DST throughout the year, I can only tell you that we tried that back in the 70s and it didn’t turn out well. Sunrise here in Chicago was after 8:00 am, which put school children out on the street at bus stops before dawn in the dead of winter. It was the same on the East Coast. Nobody liked that.

So, DST. Not a life-ender, and most people don’t understand what NOT having DST would do to their summer daytime window. If you want to find out, go to this page, run by the U.S. Navy, to find out what life would be like in your location. In the vast majority of cases, it’s not pretty.

Have a good weekend everyone.

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