Ryan Welton

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Standard time is (much) better, so says science

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This blog post is not going to make me popular.

I turned back time like Cher this morning, and like many of you, I’m for abolishing the twice-a-year clock switch-a-roo. However, I strongly advocate for keeping standard time and eliminating Daylight Saving Time — and so does science.

For what it’s worth, I understand why many folks prefer Daylight Saving Time. It’s about the illusion of more light per day (the result of summer and not DST). There’s a sense that you can go home from work and still have much of the day to come. You can get in a workout or go to the beach or have some patio time with family and friends, watching the sun set 2-3 hours after you get home.

However, this is not how the human body is wired — and that is the most important argument for either time standard. We should keep the clock schedule that scientifically is best for the human body.

And it’s no contest.

Read also: “Why Standard Time Is Better”

First, the return to standard time means it will be lighter earlier. Light is needed to get the body going, and for folks who have depression, especially seasonal depression, you want that light to happen in the morning. Light is not equal; it is much preferable in the morning if you have to pick one or the other.

Second, the return to standard time means it will get darker earlier. When it gets darker earlier, your body starts to get tired sooner — and that helps you get to sleep earlier and helps you sleep better.

And sleep is a factor in everything from heart health to car crashes. It impacts decisions at the highest levels, and it impacts how we treat each other each day. Better sleep would make the world a better place tomorrow.

I love it when we fall backward every year because it’s a return to what the time should be year-round. My hunch is that the overwhelming public support is for year-round DST and that scientific intervention into legislative matters on this topic will be met with the same disdain as we get with topics like climate change.

Sigh.

This topic is very much of an “eat your vegetables because they’re good for you” issue. But while the personal, anecdotal evidence might delude you into thinking that DST makes you happier and healthier, science is pretty clear that it does not.

So, you want to get rid of the twice-a-year clock change?

I agree. But pick the right schedule.

Standard time.

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