There have been some suggestions made recently that we shouldn’t be turning the clocks back anymore. Here where I live, in Massachusetts, at the far eastern end of Eastern Standard Time, we spend much more time in “daylight savings time” than we do in Eastern Standard Time anyway. And then when we do have to switch to standard time, it mostly is just a pain in the ass.
I’m far from the only one who feels this way. Barbara Mende of WBUR’S Cognoscenti complains about the switch in a piece published on October 30th, where she also notes that it hits us harder here in Massachusetts than many other parts of the time zone.
It gets dark here earlier than anywhere in the time zone. The sun sets a full 50 minutes earlier in Boston than in Washington, D.C. But, at present, federal law says we’re stuck with Standard Time. The Uniform Time Act of 1966, as modified in 1986 and 2005, mandates that all states adopt Daylight Saving Time (DST) between the second Sunday in March and the first Sunday in November unless they vote to exempt themselves. There is no provision for staying on DST year-round, although it’s obviously a popular idea since every change in the law has provided for more days of it.
A recent piece on National Public Radio also observed that switching time zones is not particularly healthy for us. As the article notes:
Our appetite typically rises and falls throughout the day in predictable fashion, along with alertness, arousal, sleepiness and the hundreds of subtle gradations of experience governed by circadian rhythms: biological processes that cycle with a roughly 24-hour period. When we suddenly shift our behavior as we “spring forward” in March or “fall back” in November, it takes those biological processes time to catch up, and the experience is rarely a pleasant one.
So enough with this time switching nonsense. I suggest we abandon Eastern Standard Time and just move to Atlantic Standard Time, along with our New England neighbors, and just keep it there.
Of course, it will require an Act of Congress to allow us to do that, so you know that’s not happening anytime in the near future.