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Oct. 30 2009 - 1:33 pm | 5,492 views | 3 recommendations | 8 comments

10 Reasons to Dump Daylight Saving Time

dstThis weekend is the end of Daylight Saving Time. Technically, that’s at 2 a.m. Sunday morning — you set your clock back (or, more likely these days, your clock sets itself back) and “gain” an hour of sleep. Until spring, when you “lose” that hour of sleep. Unless you’re lucky and live in Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam or the Northern Marianas and get to avoid all this nonsense.

Aside from the fact that it’s a giant pain in the ass and that it makes winter that much more godawful (sunsets at 3 p.m. in the afternoon), there are just so many reasons to dump Daylight Saving Time — or, at least, to dump the twice-a-year-time-change (we probably want to leave the clocks where they are during the summer).

Here are 10 of them — hint: Daylight Saving Time might kill you:

1) Daylight Saving Time (DST) was sold as an energy-saving measure. But it doesn’t save energy. The results of a natural experiment in Indiana (where the state was moved onto DST by a change in the law in 2006) showed that DST actually increased residential energy demand by 1% overall — and by 2%-4% in October.

2) You think DST is something we do for farmers? From the same paper: “A common misperception is that DST is an agricultural policy. Farmers have historically been one of the most organized groups against the practice of DST, as it requires them to work in morning darkness for an extra hour in order to coordinate with the timing of markets.”

3) Here’s an easy one: time wasted setting clocks backward and forward.

4) Another easy one: appointments missed because of time-change confusion.

5) When the clocks are set ahead in the Spring, it causes more car accidents.

6) Also due to the shift back to DST, workplace injuries rise, likely due to employees’ lack of sleep. According to one study of the number of injuries reported to the Mine Safety and Health Administration from 1983 to 2006: “there were 3.6 more injuries on the Mondays following the switch to daylight saving time compared to other days, and 2,649 more days of work were lost as a result of those injuries.”

7) The clocks being set ahead in Spring also interrupts our natural adjustment to changing sunrises, with possible impact on our long-term health.

8) It sucks.

9) DST really doesn’t save energy.

10) When Ben Franklin proposed the idea, he was frickin’ kidding.

Below the fold, one way DST is good…

Getting more light in the morning reduces winter depression. But we could combat the morning darkness with some simple tricks, such as using a “dawn simulator” or setting a bedside lamp on a timer for 20 minutes before our alarm clocks.


3 T/S Member Comments Called Out, 8 Total Comments
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  1. collapse expand

    So nobody ever suggested leaving the clocks alone, but instead let everyone knock off work an hour earlier in the summer to go fire up the barbecue?

    I once worked a 7-to-3 shift in a company with flex hours, it was great and my commute was shorter.

  2. collapse expand

    What about a 7-hour workday with different workplaces staggering their start times? Manufacturing, for example, could go 6am-1pm and commercial offices could go 8am-3pm and government offices could go 11am-6pm. It would allow more people to enjoy daylight hours, reduce unemployment, save energy, relief congestion and allow the many households with both parents working to be with their kids.
    The simple fact that our skin manufactures vitamin D in the presence of sunlight should indicate the overall importance of spending some part of our day outside in sunlight.

  3. collapse expand

    Actually, the Department of Energy estimates that electricity demand drops by 0.5 percent during Daylight Saving Time, saving the equivalent of nearly 3 million barrels of oil.

  4. collapse expand

    We Aussies are upside down so this comment comes during summer :)

    Um in most parts of he world DLS happens during summer. If it’s affecting the apparent time the sun sets in winter I feel for you and you need to move further south.

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    About Me

    I'm a freelance writer and blogger based in Brooklyn, NY. My background is mostly in politics. I've worked on the editorial boards of the New York Sun and New York Post. In 2006, I wrote a book, "The Elephant in the Room: Evangelicals, Libertarians, and the Battle to Control the Republican Party" (Wiley). I've also done my share of freelancing, for places like the Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, Reason, and RealClearPolitics.

    These days, I'm interested in humanity's ever-expanding understanding of its own irrationality. Hence, this blog.

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