The Pros and Cons of Ending the Time Change

The debate about Daylight Saving Time is heating up, and some states in the U.S. are doing something about it.  Last week, California passed a measure that clears the way for doing away with the twice-per-year time shift, leaving the state in Daylight Saving Time all year.  Florida passed a similar measure that was signed by the state’s governor last month.  Several other states, including Texas and Washington, are discussing a similar move, and multiple countries have considered it as well.  Any state in the U.S. would need federal approval to make the change, but it’s safe to say that there’s a significant increase in the amount of discussion about what life would look like if we “spring forward” and stay that way.

Pro: Eliminating the back-and-forth time switches

One of the biggest complaints about the time change is that it messes up your circadian rhythms for several days twice a year.  Some experts say it’s terrible for your body, and individuals who have very regular body clocks are hit the hardest.

Con: It would be very dark in the morning

If we stay in Daylight Saving Time all year, one giant consideration is that it would be very dark in the morning when kids are going to the bus stop and adults are going to work.  In Standard Time (read: non-Daylight Saving Time) it’s basically dusk at that time in some parts of the country, and if you subtract an hour, it would be like you’re getting up at 5 a.m.  In addition to safety concerns on the roads and at the bus stop, it’s simply better for your body to wake up when it’s light outside, because it helps you set your internal clock.  Sales of sun lamps would soar!

Pro: More daylight after work and school

While the time shift helps with more daylight in the morning in the winter, it means that it’s dark by 5:00 p.m. in most places in the U.S.  For some people, this can cause depression.  Others simply mourn the loss of the ability to do outside activities after work.

Con: Time zones would be strange

It would be one thing if the entire country decided at the same time to stay in DST all year, but if individual states do it, that will get confusing.  For instance, Florida covers two time zones now — Central (in the panhandle) and Eastern (in the rest of the state).  If they choose to stay in Daylight Saving Time, then for part of the year the panhandle would be in the Eastern time zone, while the rest of the state would be in the Atlantic time zone, along with Nova Scotia in Canada.

There are many other “Pros” and “Cons” to this.  What do you think?  Should the United States stay in Daylight Saving Time all year, or should we keep the time changes we’ve been making in this country since World War II?