Why Daylight Saving Time Will Kill Us All


In the wee hours of Sunday morning, ancient black magic dictates that most of our clocks will magically spring forward an hour, which means we lose an hour of precious, precious sleep. Which means that for the first few days of next week, right as this intolerably long, cold winter is starting to crack, we’re all going to be a bunch of cranky fucks.

The terribly annoying tradition of Daylight Saving Time didn’t, contrary to popular belief, start with farmers swarming the Town Hall with pitchforks and clamoring for more daylight, so we can’t blame this modern day debacle on Monsanto (don’t worry; pretty much everything else bad that is food and farm-related is 100% Monsanto’s fault. Source: The Internet). DST started with noted horny genius Benjamin Franklin, who thought that forcing people to wake up earlier would make them healthier, wealthier, and wiser, but his great idea didn’t start to catch on until World War I. During World War II, Daylight Savings Time became a year-round thing in the US because SUPPORT THE TROOPS, and after World War II, keeping the clock-monkeying to twice a year, for the most part.

In recent years, Daylight Saving Time has come under fire by people who argue that there isn’t much of a point to the whole thing. Longer, lighter evenings don’t save energy; they encourage people to go out and do things that require energy. And then there’s the matter of “Risky Monday,” which is what one behavior expert calls the day after the day we spring our clocks forward and lose an hour of sleep.

[Christopher Barnes has] documented an increase in workplace injuries and the severity of those injuries, and more “cyberloafing” — looking at online entertainment websites (and so cute kittens), instead of working. Other research shows that heart attack rates and car accidents are significantly higher on Sleepy Monday.
“Just from a small amount of lost sleep we see a noticeable effect,” he said.

So not only does springing forward sacrifice an hour of your precious, precious Sunday blues at the altar of inconvenient habit, it makes life more dangerous and even wastes energy. Also wah, I like sleeping. [If this is the part where parents say “HEY WOW I HAVE KIDS AND I HAVEN’T SLEPT SINCE 1995 SO QUIT YOUR WHINING” I’d just like to offer a rebuttal that there are many reasons I haven’t had children, many of which relate to the changes they’d force on my lifestyle which includes sleep as an important component.]

This spring, the clock change falls at an exceptionally irritating time. We’ve just endured a winter colder than the most distant of Connecticut mothers. And the clock switch falls on the exact weekend when, at least for East Coast residents, things are finally starting to warm up enough that waking up and exercising outdoors is no longer akin to taking your life into your own hands. The sun comes out and then — like that, in the middle of the night — an hour disappears, the clock shift, well-established circadian rhythms are fucked with. What happens to that hour? What happens if a crime was committed at 3:01 but witnesses didn’t switch their clocks ahead in time and so they think the crime occurred at 2:01? Should I reschedule that heist I’d planned for Saturday night?

To make matters worse, if we do successfully drag our ravaged carcasses out of bed in time to go for a jog, or get some breakfast, or bask in the glory of temperatures that are above freezing, some overtired Spring Forward-drunk driver might careen into us and then we spend months in a hospital with our hip and knee joints all full of pins and it’s your fault, Daylight Saving Time! You did this to me!

But not everyone in the country is going to go through a grumbly, crashy few days starting on Sunday. Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Marianas Islands, Samoa, and most of Arizona clocks stay put.

This is literally the only weekend of the year when I’m the tiniest bit jealous of people who live in Phoenix.

Image via Shutterstock.

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