Permanent Daylight Savings Time


By: Camila Chaves ‘23


Daylight Savings time; that time when we set our clocks an hour ahead, that time when we notice later sunsets, that time when some of us never even change our clocks. On Sunday, March 13, we went into Daylight Savings Time (DST) once again, after the long winter of standard time. As the days are starting to feel longer, we inch closer to summer, excited to finally reach long summer days, but what if the whole year stayed on daylight savings time?


Daylight savings was set in place nationally with the Uniform Time Act of 1966, to save energy by adding an extra hour of daylight during the summer. Since then, Americans have become accustomed to switching their clocks every November and March, having an extra hour of light from spring to fall and using standard time during the winter. Standard time is an hour behind daylight savings time.


Since our last transition into DST, people have been questioning the whole idea, should we have a permanent time year-round? Should it be daylight savings time or standard time? Which would be more useful to us? 


The Sunshine Protection Act was introduced to the house on January 4, 2021, and passed the Senate with a unanimous vote on Mar 15, 2022. Section 2 of the bill states that Daylight Savings time would be made permanent, repealing Section 3 of the Uniform Time Act of 1966 that made DST temporary. Although the bill isn’t set to go into effect until 2023, it has already sparked plenty of debate. 


Many of us prefer the long summer days over short dark winter days and favor this new act. If this did go into effect, we would have an extra hour on winter evenings that we’re not used to, making winter daylight feel longer. This would make it easier for people to commute on winter evenings, without having to worry about driving in the dark when getting off of work at four. We may also be able to save energy in the evening since we’d be able to depend a little more on natural light and even see less of that seasonal depression we feel during the literal dark days. 


On the other hand, this change poses a new concern about morning commutes. If we were to keep Daylight Savings Time during the winter, it would mean a much later sunrise. This could mean us getting to school in the dark, getting to work in the dark, or even just waking up in the dark. Although there is one less hour in the afternoon of daylight, standard time gives us that extra hour of daylight in the morning and helps us feel more alert for the day, while DST in the summer may prevent us from falling asleep at night. By using standard time, we are more in sync with our body’s natural and biological sleep-wake cycles.