Does Daylight Saving Time make sense?

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meadow sunset

By the time you read this, I will have no idea what time it is. I can look at the clock, certainly, but my inner clock will be way off. 

I am completely lost two weeks every year. First in the spring, when we spring forward to Daylight Saving Time, giving us daylight well into the evening. Then in autumn, at least here in the Buckeye State, we fall back to Standard Time. This is great for rising and actually shining in the morning but means it’s dark well before dinner time for most of us. 

Nonsense

For the record, my dogs say this is absolute nonsense. Nova is very smart. She knows what time she eats, when she gets treats and what time appetizers are served (our term for her twice-daily medications). 

I am pretty certain she can tell time, and when it comes to changing time around all willy-nilly, she remains unimpressed. 

For years, the time change was observed mostly as, “how do I change the clock on my VCR again?” day. Nowadays, there is less of this to worry about. 

Basically, our electronics have a hierarchy. Smartphone: Leave it alone. It knows what to do. Auto Clock: Not worth it. Just wait six months until it is correct again. Microwave: You’ll need the owner’s manual, a master’s degree and a magic spell. 

Blame

While various sources, from farmers to school children, have been blamed for the time-change chaos, justification for the creation of Daylight Saving Time can be traced to attempts to save energy during World Wars. The theory is that when the sun is out later in the evening, peak energy loads are reduced because people do not need artificial light. 

This was later solidified during the oil crisis of the 1970s. Unfortunately, what we save in lighting costs we spend on medical care. It is alleged that heart attacks increase 24% in the week after a time change. This may be more likely in the spring when people mistakenly believe they are late for work and scare themselves. 

Which time?

Fun fact: only about 70 countries actually follow the time change. Even within the United States, Arizona and Hawaii don’t make the switch. More and more states are lobbying to put an end to it. 

This begs the question — where would we land? Would we spring forward forever, or forever fall back? I feel like there will be lobbyists for both. I would be more inclined to join the team that allowed it to be dark in the mornings (cozy?) but stay light later in the day. 

I am not a person who needs any help in getting to bed earlier than most preschool-age people do. I’m already a huge fan of early to bed. Having it dark by dinner time does not help. 

If we do end up giving up the time change, it appears that research shows that daylight is far more precious in the early evening than it is in the early morning. The theory is that virtually everyone is awake and needs to use energy in the evenings, so more daylight tagged onto the end of the day alleviates the drain on resources. 

At the same time, at least some part of the population could be counted on to sleep in a bit, resulting in less demand for a.m. energy — at least by the sleepy heads. I would volunteer to take on the sleeping in task but as I previously mentioned, my dog can tell time and expects breakfast promptly at 7 a.m. I don’t think I have reliably slept in on a regular basis since I was a teenager. 

On that note, students waiting at bus stops are the greatest concern on these pitch-black mornings. I followed a school bus this morning, and seeing those little ones tucked onto that bus in the absolute darkness did make it seem as if they were being ferried to class in the middle of the night. 

Going back

Since we turned our clocks back this weekend, I say, why limit ourselves? Why just an hour? Why don’t we just pick a time and go way back? 

I am setting mine back 16 years. I’m still in my 30s, my kids are young and no matter what time I rise and shine, my knees don’t crack when I do. 

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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