Many people dislike the two days of the year we go to or revert from Daylight Saving Time (DST.) It requires changing the clocks and adjusting to the new rhythm of our activity related to the rise and set of the Sun. It is annoying and, as a species, annoyance is a prompt for finding a solution. Perhaps it is time to stop changing time.
A Problem of Degrees
We should recognize that the length of day is only an issue for those living between 30° and 70° latitude. The length of day within 30° of the equator doesn’t radically change from summer to winter. Above 70° latitude, the Sun sets for weeks or months during the winter and there are not many people living that close to the poles.
For those living between 30° and 70° latitude, there is an undeniable problem. Reno, Nevada, USA is at 39° north latitude. At the summer solstice, the day is almost 15 hours long and sunrise is at 5:30 am under Daylight Saving Time. If we did not have DST, the sun would rise at 4:30 am.
A Diurnal Vespertine-Adapted Species
In an agrarian economy, working in the field is easier during daylight hours. In that situation, time is relative to a solar schedule; however, in an interactive urban economy, working in shops and offices is more suitable for a common clock schedule.
After artificial electric light became the standard, and after the population moved into cities, we became a diurnal, vespertine-adapted species. Most of our country’s population works during the daylight hours and participates in non-work activities in the evenings. Today, most people are not active before six in the morning, but they remain active until 10 pm or later.
Sunrise before 6 am disturbs the typical sleep patterns of humans, and light later into the evening is more suitable for evening activities. Daylight Saving Time creates a favorable environment for a later sunrise and more sun in the evening.
Daylight Saving Time Year Round
Standard Time was traditionally based on the position of the Sun at High Noon. That approximately divided the daylight into Morning and Afternoon. We no longer use High Noon as the foundation of Standard Time; however, it is an artifact of a primarily agrarian economy. Daylight Saving Time was used to adapt the clock to human behavior as we moved from the farms to more urban living.
Time is a human invention. It should serve the needs of humans. It would seem it is time to stop punishing humans with Standard Time and remain on Daylight Savings Time for the entire year.