Obligatory Daylight Saving Time Whinging

It's that, er, time again.

In most of the US, we have returned to Daylight Saving Time, dutifully springing forward overnight. Along with switching whatever non-automatic time-displaying devices we might have left, the chief effect is the biennial deluge of media commentary as to whether this practice makes any damned sense.

Ginger Adams Otis does her part for WSJ with “When Is Daylight-Saving Time? What to Know as the Clocks Change.” None of the piece will be even slightly informative to anyone over 13 but I was nonetheless amused by the opener:

Lovers of sunlight and springtime will rejoice on Sunday, when clocks across most of the U.S. move ahead an hour and the dark days of winter start to recede.

For sleep lovers, however, it can be a day of existential dread—one less hour to enjoy the comfort of bed thanks to a human-created warp in time.

I’m an early riser by function of decades-long habit and more recent insomnia. But I seldom have anywhere I have to be on Sunday mornings and never have anywhere I have to be before I’d have been up, anyway. I quite literally don’t lose any sleep over it. My wife, who would sleep until 9 every day if circumstances allowed, likewise has no place to be. And, rather than “losing” an hour’s sleep is likely to get more of it today because it’s just starting to get light as I write this at what would have been 6 am but is instead 7.

Switching the clocks (the microwave, oven, coffee maker, and beside alarms are the only holdouts incapable of changing the time on their own) as the coffee brews is a mild inconvenience. And, as I do indeed prefer more sunlight later in the day, a minor tradeoff, indeed. It was going to be dark when I got up, anyway. It’s just that it turned out to be 630 instead of 530.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Kylopod says:

    First jab, now whinging. Are we going to start talking about petrol prices soon?

  2. James Joyner says:

    @Kylopod: Only if they get up to $7.718 a gallon, the current equivalent rate in the UK.

  3. BugManDan says:

    I prefer non-DST, because part of my job requires daylight, but I have to work when the place I am working is open. DST means less available daylight, especially in this early part of spring.

  4. Jen says:

    @BugManDan: Isn’t it the reverse? Daylight Savings Time is clocks forward, in which we ostensibly “gain” an hour of daylight towards the end of the day. Standard Time is the “fall back” time.

    Either way, I’m one of the odd ducks who prefers the two time changes. This far north, without DST, we’d have sunrise at around 4:30 a.m. And in the dark of winter, if we didn’t “fall back,” it wouldn’t get light until nearly 9:00 a.m.

  5. Scott says:

    Personally, I think the time zones are too damn wide. If you’re trying to get the kids to bed at a reasonable hour (say 8:30 pm) and it is still bright out, it’s a real pain.

    Right now (8am), the sun is barely up and tomorrow the dogs will be walked in the dark.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    as to whether this practice makes any damned sense.

    As one who spent a life time working out of doors, it makes sense to me, especially in July when the temps are flirting with 100 at noon. Because I would have started at 6 AM I only needed to endure another 2 hours after lunch.

    Unless I was working 6/10s or something like that, in which case I was just screwed.

  7. Sleeping Dog says:


    New England should be in the Atlantic Time Zone with Nova Scotia and we’d benefit by being in the westerly edge of that time zone with daylight lasting long into the evening. There has been legislation in some NE states to implement a move, but all depend on MA moving first.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: Personally, I think the time zones are too damn wide.

    There are 24 time zones because there are 24 hours in the day. Dividing the surface of the globe by 24 means the time zones are what they are. If you want a narrower time zone, the only way to get it is by moving further north (or south if you’re in the southern hemisphere).

  9. MarkedMan says:

    I like theChinese system. No DST and only one time zone. 10am is 10am across the whole country but in the west they simply start work later on the clock.

  10. Mister Bluster says:


    I’m suprised you didn’t have a Brock a brella in your tool box for those hot, humid St. Louis summers.

    Oh yeah…PLAY BALL!

    Baseball Bummers
    Broglio’s performance with the Cubs was what led a majority of baseball fans to view the transaction between the Cardinals and Cubs to be a lopsided trade. He had a record of 1–6 his first year with the Cubs in 1965 and a 2–6 record in 1966 which made the organization send him down to the minor leagues. ESPN ranked this to be the number one, worst mid season trade in baseball history.

  11. BugManDan says:

    @Jen: Yeah, I forget which is which, even in a post about it. And for some reason until Monday, my brain can’t remember if this is the good one or not. Point being, I want 7 to be the earlier version of 7.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: ESPN ranked this to be the number one, worst mid season trade in baseball history.

    Yeah, the greatest mid-season trade in Cardinals history.

  13. Michael Cain says:

    I sometimes wonder if people’s attitude towards DST depends on whether they live nearer the eastern or western edge of their time zones.

  14. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Michael Cain:

    It absolutely makes a difference as to where you live in a time zone. Spent a weekend in Midland, MI in mid July once and it was still evening at 10 PM, had a similar experience in Winnipeg where dusk was nearing 11PM. Both cities are on the far edge of the east and central time zones, also at higher latitudes.

  15. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..greatest mid-season trade in Cardinals history.

    Just gave you a thumbs up.
    Count that as the last nice thing I do for a Cardinal fan this season.

  16. CSK says:

    To quote Melania Trump’a jacket: “I really don’t care, do u?”

  17. Mister Bluster says:

    @Scott:..time zones
    @Michael Cain:..DST
    @Sleeping Dog:..far edge

    When I worked in Hoosier Hollow in the early ’80s Indiana used two time zones Eastern and Central. At that time (…) the Eastern Time Zone did not recognize DST. Since they did not Spring Ahead in the Eastern Time zone and they did Spring Ahead in the Central Time Zone this meant that in the summer the entire state ran on the same time.
    Winter was another matter. I worked in more than one telephone exchange that included both Time Zones. And often the motel I stayed at was on one side of the line and the job site was on the other. If I had to show up in the Eastern Time Zone at 7am EST (6am CST) and it was a 20 minute drive that means I had to leave the Central Time Zone at 5:30am CST. (I think that’s right.)
    I met local telephone company employees that lived near the time zone line. They said that they had at least two clocks in the house, one EST and the other CST. Dad worked in one time zone, mom worked in the other and the school bus picked up the kids in one time zone and took them to a school in the other.
    Apparently in 2006 the Happy Hoosiers went to statewide Daylight Savings Time and they adopted this tune as the official State Song.

  18. Andy says:

    As unpopular as DST is (or seems to be), I’m really surprised that politicians haven’t tried harder to end it.

    Personally, as a retired military guy, I think the whole planet should standardize on GMT.

  19. CSK says:

    I think that all started when “sleeping in” replaced “sleeping late.” And there’s “gone missing” as well.

  20. Scott says:

    @Andy: And a 24 hour clock. Which I use to irritate the wife and kids.

  21. grumpy realist says:

    The major problem I’ve run into with DST is that multiple countries have the concept….but everyone seems to have different dates for going on/off of it. So the time lag between my present location and, say, Tokyo, has to be constantly checked.


  22. Mister Bluster says:

    @Andy:..the whole planet should standardize on GMT.
    @Scott:..And a 24 hour clock.

    Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?


  23. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Andy: My understanding is that DST is not unpopular with industry–particularly leisure-time hospitality industry–so there’d be no reason for Congress to work on repeal. What does it matter what citizen’s think? The people who pay for the government are entitled to whatever policies they prefer.

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: Aaaaah, yer just jealous. 😉