Daylight Saving Explained

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always looked forward to Daylight Saving Time (DST). As a kid, I like it because it signaled the advent of spring, which meant that summer – and summer vacation – weren’t far around the corner. And to this day there’s something just plain encouraging about that extra hour of sunshine in the late afternoon and evening. Yes, it’s darker in the morning, but that’s the morning anyway, when I’m hardly awake and is totally worth the extra sunlight later. As for missing an hour of sleep, well, I always figured you just go to bed a little earlier or sleep a little later and it should be no problem.

When I became a parent, things got a little trickier, but light-blocking shades and spreading the adjustment for the kids, especially when they were very small, over two days solved that. Once in a while, of course, I had near-miss DST catastrophes, like when in my first year as a pastor when I only caught the announcement of DST on the late news just before going to bed and narrowly escaped coming to church an hour late. But that kind of thing was pretty rare so, all in all, Daylight Savings Time has always been a boon.

Until this year. This year, I’ve had my first DST hangover. I couldn’t believe it was time to get up. It didn’t help, of course, that I stayed up writing until well after 1:00 a.m., telling myself it was really only midnight. Because getting up at 6:00 a.m., from that logic, was now getting up at 5:00. So I thought I’d look into DST a tad more and came across this very informative and fast-paced video explanation by CGP Grey, the same guy who made the brilliant video about the history of Santa.

As it turns out, my DST hangover isn’t unique to me and actually figures as part of a much larger debate about the utility, even sanity, of DST. After watching Grey’s video I have to say that I still like the longer sunshine in the evening, but it’s definitely made me think a little more deeply about Daylight Saving Time and keenly aware that some of you may or may not be using it, or, if you’re tuning in Down Under, may be preparing to come off DST in a few weeks. Wherever you are, I hope you enjoy the video and the sun, whether it’s out longer for you today or not!

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