Daylight Savings Time

laying VCT tile

By Gabrielle. Image of me snapped by Ben Blair.

I am up to my ears in floor glue! Which is a good thing! We started the floors in the boys room late last night (see above), and this morning I hope to finish things up. The glue is setting as I type. In fact, this is just a quick post, because as soon as it’s ready, I’ll need to start laying that tile!

Part of the reason we were working late into the night was the time switch. I swear, my body treats Daylight Savings Time like full-on jet lag. I couldn’t fall asleep. You too?

I’m always so curious about Daylight Savings Time. I can never quite understand who is benefitting from the time switch and why we do it at all. I’ve heard that it was originally instituted to help farmers, but I’ve never bothered to look up the history. One thing I do look up every once in awhile when the hour switches, is which time is considered “normal”. Meaning, if there was no Daylight Savings Time, what time would it be right now? Are we currently on regular time, or are we on altered time? I’ve learned this many times, but clearly, it hasn’t stuck with me.

Fun fact: France participates in Daylight Savings Time, but the country doesn’t make the switch at the same time as the U.S.. So, when we were living there, we were usually 6 hours ahead of the East Coast, but for a couple of weeks, it would be 5 hours.

From my point of view, it seems like the disadvantages (more accidents happen on Daylight Savings time change weeks because of over-tiredness, plus retraining my kids’ sleep habits twice a year is a downer at best) have surpassed the advantages. But I freely admit, I don’t actually understand what the advantages are supposed to be. I’m hoping someone reading is a big fan of the time change and can explain to me why it’s an important tradition and the positive impact it has.

What’s your experience? Do you have strong feelings about Daylight Savings Time? Or maybe you live somewhere that doesn’t participate (Hello, Arizona!)? If you have kids, how do they react? Have you figured out tricks to master the time change right away? I’d love to hear.

82 thoughts on “Daylight Savings Time”

  1. I never cared until I had children–and now I HATE it! My kids were all miserable this morning and the school was starting standardized testing today. Seriously a nightmare and my kids were so exhausted all day, as was I. Having to get up in the dark 2 hours after I fed the baby was not the way I wanted to start the day…

  2. After growing up in California, and now having lived in Arizona for almost 10 years, I can say that I really like not having to deal with daylight savings time. :-) The only weird thing is that the sun comes up SO early in the summer here…. like broad daylight by 5 am near the summer solstice. But sometimes I miss the feeling I had as a child in California, when in June it would be light till nearly 9 pm. Here in Arizona, though, the last thing we want is for it to be light later. Bring on the dark so we can go out and do things! My kids will grow up remembering nighttime park visits when it’s 110 degrees in July. :-)

    And as a bonus, now that daylight savings time is lengthened, it’s nice for 7 months out of the year to be able to call my family in California without having to calculate any time difference!

    By the way, winter is the “standard” time. Summer is “daylight savings” time. :-)

  3. I like the later daylight. But, its not fun when you have a young child on a set sleeping schedule. Adjusting nap and bedtime can take a whole week and your child gets thrown off just by missing a single hour.

  4. I’ve never really understood why people think it helps farmers. I mean, you still have to get up to take care of the animals regardless of what time the clock says, and you still get the same amount of sunlight for plants. The idea is so that clocks are adjusted so that you have more light at more productive times- ie the sun isn’t coming up at 4 in the morning when everyone is asleep and there is more light in the evening. I’m pretty sure it was popularized in the US at least during WWII as a way to save energy (having more daylight when people were up and about meant less electricity being used), but I could be remembering wrong.

    It is a pain the first few nights getting up/getting to bed, but we’re at a latitude in Wyoming where it makes a difference. Now we have the sun till nearly seven at night! So nice!

  5. I live in Beijing and we don’t do Daylight Savings! I LOVE it! And since moving here, I’ve wondered even more why we do it back at home (New Brunswick, Canada for me). Everything still seems “normal” here. During the winter it’s darker in the mornings and gets darker earlier in the evenings. During summer, it’s lighter when I wake up and stays lighter longer in the evenings. The sun knows what it’s doing! We don’t need to change anything! :)

  6. All I know is that I had the worst “mom” morning in recent memory today. The lunches, the getting out the door, the homework…I was in a terrible race, and losing badly. (The kids seemed just fine, btw.) And waking with the sky so dark made me want to punch somebody.

  7. Daylight savings is even more complicated in Australia. At work I have to write software that takes into account the UK, AU and US DST changes which all happen on different dates of the year and its always so complicated to do the calculations.

    It also means when calling my parents in the UK we could be 9,10 or 11 hours apart depending on which of us is in DST or both etc.

    In the UK it’s called BST – British Summer Time (GMT+1) so it makes it easy to tell that winter is normal as that’s just GMT.

  8. Up here in the North daylight saving time is a pretty big deal. I live in Stockholm, Sweden, and I know I speak for everyone when I say that we cannot wait for the switch. That said, what we’re really looking forward to is Spring. We crave daylight after our long and dark winter, but the whole setting the clock back/forward every spring and fall feels more pointless every year. Winter will always be tough here, summer nights always a delight. If we could stop messing up the childrens’ sleeping patterns twice a year I’d be most grateful. (Though this particular year we have a baby that likes to rise at 5.30 am. and I can’t wait for it to be 6.30 instead :)

  9. I love DST! I’ll take the daylight after work any day! Great for playing with the kids or exercising. It’s the worst when we “fall back” and the early darkness gets even earlier. What a slap in the face. I totally agree with Anna in Sweden. Maybe cause I’m also up north in Canada? The winters are tough and dark and I don’t think standard time helps, so why bother with the change at all?

  10. Well, Gabrielle,
    I have to say I am with you on this topic.
    I do not like daylight savings …not here or there…not anywhere.

    We live in PA. and my little one slept until 10:30am! ..which means our homeschool day will be off.

    I could not get him to sleep last night ….until 11pm!
    And my husband and I just simply could not sleep.

    So today, coffee is my very close friend:)

    And PS…I really enjoy your blog!


  11. I don’t like it all! I always feel off for weeks afterward and hate that I have to be so reliant on clocks and alarms when I am usually pretty good about waking and moving around without them. My kids seem to have adjusted really quickly this year, and I’m surprised b/c it normally takes some time for their internal clocks to reset.

  12. I woke up thinking about this post. I’ve felt like I’ve been hit by a truck the last two days with such darkness in the morning! I’m so glad homeschooling makes it so I don’t have to drag tired and cranky kids out of bed but can let them acclamate slowly.

  13. The Other Robin

    The time change doesn’t really bother one way or the other, but I do have to pay attention to it. I have a friend in Arizona (where they don’t change their clocks), so I have to try to remember if we are on the same time or different before I call her. I had a hard time before I figured out that in the Fall, we “fall back” to the “normal” time. Since then, it’s been easy to remember.

  14. I love DST because there is plenty of daylight left when I get off work. I like to run outside not use a treadmill when possible. I don’t remember my children (when they were young) being effected by DST as others have mentioned. We used to live in Hawaii which does not participate in DST. Being closer to equator, there is not much transition between light and dark in Hawaii. I currently live in the Northwest and love the longer transition to dark especially during DST.

  15. I always wonder, if the whole nation can just change their clocks, why can’t we just start changing times things are open? Like schools? have them start later if that’s the problem.
    And I thought that was a picture of Maude too, not you!

  16. I live in Arizona, but am currently going to college in Florida. I hate Daylight Savings! I never had to do it growing up, and I was just fine. People used to tell me it was because it’s so hot in Arizona that we don’t want to save any daylight! I have no idea if that’s really why we don’t do it, but it’s a good answer for me! Once I started school in Florida I was horrified at the thought of losing an hour of sleep (I mean, I’m in college! I need all the sleep I can get!) I think there ought to be a petition to stop it!

  17. I once heard a documentary on the radio (CBC) that said daylight savings time was heavily lobbied for by the barbecue industry! Perhaps. I think that DST was thought of by people living in the south, because in the summer we have plenty of daylight. (in Canada)

  18. Here’s my question: What needs to be done to change DST observance? I mean I’m all for a good petition but until something is on a ballot to become law or policy or whatever then I feel like I’m not doing much toward the goal. I’ve noticed that Indiana has some interesting time-keeping practices enacted by each county (I thought some counties in Indiana observed DST and others didn’t but I’m not completely sure). Anyway, is that where things would have to start? On the county level? What does it take to get something on the county ballot? On the national ballot?

    It seems like the commenters above who have lived in places with no DST liked it (myself included). It seems like those who lived in China with only one time-zone didn’t like that. So, even though I like the idea of only one time zone, I’m thinking I’ll stick with those who have experienced it and say no thanks to that right now.

  19. I just finished listening to the Backstory podcast all about time and the history of DST was included in the discussion. It was fascinating! I would definitely recommend listening to it the next time you’re laying flooring in your house. ;)

  20. I’m no expert on this and I could be totally wrong, BUT I think of it this way: as the days get longer (starting 12/22) we gain a minute or two of daylight each morning and a minute or two of daylight each evening. Let’s say it’s light from 8am to 4pm on 12/21 (8 hours of daylight) and on June 21 we will have 16 hours of daylight. If those added 8 hours of light are equally to the morning and the evening, it would be light from 4am to 8pm. Since fewer people are up at 4am than at 8pm, we move the clocks forward so that it is instead light from 5am to 9pm. Better, right?

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