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.
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.
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.
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.
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.