Two things are happening this week: one, a House committee will debate HB17-1226, which is a bipartisan attempt to normalize the clocks in Colorado and stay on Daylight Saving Time permanently. And two, having just suffered through another spring-forward weekend, everyone is going to be pretty damn cranky.
The bill seems like a no-brainer: You won’t find too many people who are staunchly in support of Daylight Saving Time. But changing things — even things that need changing — take work. And, ironically, time. Here are five arguments for and five arguments against standardizing Colorado clocks once and for all.
1. Keep Our Weekends Holy
Doing away with the spring forward/fall back system would have the added benefit of no longer ruining two of our weekends a year. Granted, getting an extra hour of sleep in the fall isn’t so bad, but springing forward? Ugh. Worse, it generally happens around St. Paddy’s Day, when people (especially in Denver, with one of the nation’s biggest parades) need all the recovery time they can get.
2. Respecting Sleep Cycles
We generally accept the sleep science that tells us that we need to respect our bodies’ need for regular and sufficient sleep — except when it comes to Daylight Saving Time, when we all communally tell our brains to shut up and stop whining. But it’s serious stuff: Everyone has experienced the draggy feeling of being off-schedule for at least the few days following the switch, but it’s more than that for some people with more delicate sleeping patterns. Just look at the sheer number of pharmaceutical sleep aids on the market. Catching some Zs is tough enough for some people to manage without a wrench thrown into the works on a biannual basis.
Walks in City Park are great, except for the photographers constantly getting in the way.
Adam Schultz at Flickr
3. Later Days
We’d have more daylight in the evening hours, which is good for Coloradans in a lot of ways — more light for walks in the park, biking home from work, and generally maintaining life as usual, especially during the waning days of the year when days are already painfully short. Remember the feeling of getting off work and heading home when the city is already dark, at 5:30? If Daylight Saving Time was made permanent, that would still happen, but only for a handful of days instead of most of December and January. Good for dog walking, too, and what’s good for dogs in Denver is usually good for Denver itself.
4. Farmers Would Like to Stop Being Blamed
It’s a common misconception that Daylight Saving Time was in some way designed to benefit the agricultural community — which is completely wrong, since the argument that “farmers would have more time in the fields” doesn’t really hold water. (Farmers generally follow the sun, anyway. What the clock says doesn’t mean much.) When Daylight Saving Time was introduced, it was done as a wartime energy-saving measure — even though those energy savings have never really been realized. Farmers actually lobbied hard to get Daylight Saving Time overturned once it was passed, so it’s doubly ironic that in modern times they get blamed for starting the mess in the first place.
5. Freeing Up Congressional Schedules
If we no longer had bills that were proposed to address the issue of Daylight Saving Time, that would put an end to an issue that has already taken up valuable legislative time. It might be constructive to stop trying to fix a broken system of timekeeping when there are so many other broken systems in the state that could use the attention.
Keep reading for reasons to oppose the Daylight Saving Time bill.
6. The Benefits of Assimilation
As someone who used to live in Arizona, I know that living on a different time system than most of the country pretty much sucks; you never really know what time it is relative to other states, or at least you have to think about it. When you live in a non-Daylight Saving state, you stop thinking about it until you want to call someone in a Daylight Saving state and have to think about not just their time zone, but what time of the year it is and what that means relative to what time it is where you are. See? Confusing.
7. The American Tradition of Commiseration
Less for weathercasters to talk about on the local news? Fewer topics of conversation in the break room at work? Missing the opportunity to complain about how damn tired everyone is for two weeks out of the year? We would lose some culture if a new time system were imposed. After all, Daylight Saving Time is practically a holiday in America, the short season when we all have an excuse for yawning inappropriately. “Sorry,” we say as we yawn in the middle of a conversation. “Daylight Saving sucks, amIright?” Instead of a nasty look, we get sympathy. Losing Daylight Saving Time means losing two weeks of excused slight laziness a year.
8. TV Schedules Get Wonky
Okay, it’s a small beef as far as complaints go. But cable channels and remaining superstations based in other parts of the country will still follow Daylight Saving Time, so everything shifts back or forth twice a year, while Colorado would not. Yes, most people get used to it. No, it’s not a huge deal, especially now that so much is on-demand or recorded digitally. But it’ll feel important when you have to explain to your Nana why her Andy Griffith reruns are now on an hour later.
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9. Sunrises Are Worth Seeing
There are people who get up purposefully all the time just to see the sunrise — they jog, or they sip coffee on their porch, or they in some way enjoy the break of day. And when the clock favors daylight in the evening, that robs the morning of that same daylight. The clock is a human construct, and the sun is going to shine as it will, our labels be damned. So, yes, sunrises will still happen, no matter the time, but losing Daylight Saving would make it tougher to catch the dawn.
10. We’d Miss Out on Lists Like These
At least twice a year. See you in November.