A lot of people really don't like losing an hour of sleep in March, as our clocks magically warp from 1:59:59.999999 AMto 3:00:00 AM, making our already sleep-deprived bodies slightly worse off. Or for us night owls, making us go to bed an hour before we would on a regular night... or stay up an hour later (according to the clock) because we can't sleep an hour earlier. However, while the loss of that hour is frustrating, it is not my main concern with Daylight Savings Time.

My main problem with the policy is that kids are going to school in the dark come October, and this is amplified by the recent extension of DST into early November. I'll assume that a kid has his first class at 7:35 AM, like I did for most of my years in high school. If they have to get out of the house by 7, it will likely still be dark in the last weeks of DST. This is particularly true in places that are on the western border of their time zone. New York (Picture 1) is slightly south of Detroit (Picture 2), but since it is significantly further east as well, the sun rises 39 minutes earlier there.


NYC 7 am oct 21


Detroit 7 am Oct 21

Assuming civil twilight starts half an hour before sunrise, people in Detroit will likely be going to work or school before it is dark out. If it had been Eastern Standard Time, rather than Daylight Time, the sun would just have risen.

However, as a night person, I do see one benefit to DST in the summer. If we kept standard time year-round, as early as 4:00 AM, we'd start the sky get bright again. Personally, that would just seem weird... I'd feel like it were an hour later than it actually was, because as my past of staying up past the wee hours of the morning (less so now than in my late teens,) the morning would creep in around five, certainly not four!

But overall, I think DST causes more trouble than its worth. We have become a 24-hour society, and electronics have become significnatly more pervasive than they were 70 years ago. The spread of air conditioner use, particularly in the south, would perhaps counter the energy saved by leaving lights off for an hour. It would be hotter and people would be required (or at least have a desire) to run air conditoners during that time. My mom has often said that they should just split the difference and keep the clocks half an hour ahead of standard time year-round.

I think that would work in the long-run, but there would be much confusion in the short run for that approach to truly work. Standard time does somehow seem more natural... with the sun overhead (or as close as it gets to overhead depending on your latitude) at noon. But time is relative, and the way we choose to measure it is artificial, with thousands of years of humans trying to find a way to measure a day. Breaking it down to 24 hours is a human decision, so ultimately there is no "natural" time, though I still feel that Standard Time is the right way to go. I hope more states follow the path of Arizona, but only TIME will tell.

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