Daylight Savings Time

Oct 2006, updated Mar 2014

Every year I hate the transitions into and out of Daylight Savings Time*. Why do we still need this? Wasn’t it set up for World War I? Is it really worth the hassle?

(2006) I think we should have DST year round.
(2012) I have grown to accept the sunrise benefits of DST. Also see this diagram[1] and try out different cities. Based on the “days it’s light when you wake up” and “days it’s light when you leave work” it seems like DST may be better in northern cities and worse in southern cities. I’ve lived in southern cities of the U.S. so that may have led to my dislike of DST.
(2015) See this analysis[2]. I want yet a different visualization but I haven’t built it yet. Also see this set of reasons for keeping DST[3].
(2019) See this article[4] for reasons why year-round Daylight Saving Time is bad for our health.


What are the reasons for Daylight Saving Time?


The costs to Daylight Saving Time have increased over the years. It used to be that the only times you cared about were local. Each local area had its own decision about whether to use Daylight Saving Time and when to start and end it.

Why we should get rid of it

The main argument I see for Daylight Saving Time is that it gives us more evening hours with daylight. Since people are more likely to be awake and active in the evening (after work) than in the morning (before work), Daylight Saving Time shifts the daylight to a time when it’s more useful. In these diagrams, the yellow is daylight, blue is “normal” work hours (8 to 5), and green is evening time at home:



Summer with Daylight Saving Time:


(2006) I think we should use Daylight Saving Time all year round. If wasting daylight on mornings in the summer is bad, then it’s even worse to waste it in the winter, when there’s less daylight! Look at the wasted morning daylight in the Winter diagram; wouldn’t that be better if available in the evening?

If we had Daylight Saving Time year round, we’d eliminate all the costs of having it, keep all the benefits, and gain new benefits—more usable daylight in the winter. In essence, we’d be shifting everyone’s time zone westwards by one hour. It’s a simple solution.

Update: [2014-03-08] By 2012, I grew to accept DST as it currently is. The sunrise time makes a big difference in my life. Morning sunshine affects circadian rhythms; this greatly helps my sleep patterns. Daylight also affects Vitamin D, which is especially important to get in winter. For me, personally, the items in the Benefits section above are more important to me than they used to be, and the things listed in the Costs section are less important than they used to be. Most of my clocks (including computer and cell phone) automatically adjust, so the transitions are less and less annoying every year. The one thing I’d like is for the government to stop changing the rules.

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