The idea of permanent daylight saving time seemed to really take hold of Washington state three years ago.

Maybe the idea of DST — observed from March to November — got linked in our brains with summer itself. Perhaps it felt like longer days and late sunsets, sports, boat rides, bike rides, any outdoor fun, are only possible if that darn clock would stop lurching back and forth.

Did something change?

Last week, the U.S. Senate voted to adopt permanent daylight saving time. It had been on the edge of lawmakers’ plates for three years since Washington, along with dozens of other states, took measures to adopt permanent DST in a wave of enthusiasm.

Senate approves bill to make daylight saving time permanent

The Senate’s action unleashed a flurry of responses from sleep and depression experts around the world saying lawmakers had gotten it wrong — biologically and medically speaking. They say there’s no question that standard time is better for people.

The Seattle Times put out a poll this week asking readers what they thought: Is it time to make daylight saving permanent? Or do you think we should adopt standard time instead, as many sleep experts advise? Or maybe you think we should stick with what we’re doing and keep switching our clocks twice a year.

Out of a quick 1,000 responses, 72.4% said always use standard time, 17% said always use daylight saving time and 10.6% said we should make no change.


That’s a major shift from 2019, when state lawmakers said there was overwhelming support from Washingtonians to ditch the switch, as they passed a bill to put the state on year-round DST.

Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane, and Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside, among the bill’s sponsors, both said they had never seen constituents so passionate and excited about a legislation.

Honeyford, who has long said he’s fine with standard time, and in fact tried to get an amendment onto the 2019 bill to let voters choose whether they wanted to go on standard or saving time, said he doesn’t know what has changed since then.

“It seems odd,” he said this week. “Certainly, the majority did not want standard time then and I don’t know what turned people around.”

Karla Oman, of Mason County, is among those who changed their minds.

“Personally, I prefer sticking with DST, but sleep experts are experts for a reason,” Oman said in her response to the Times’ poll. “I am bowing to their expertise with choosing standard time.”


In a follow-up chat, she explained that she still prefers the idea of permanent daylight saving time and is not too psyched at the thought of 3 a.m. summer sunrises.

“I just want them to choose one, stay there and I will deal with it,” she said. “My body clock is tired of jumping around.”

When the bill to put Washington state permanently on daylight time was passed by both the state House and the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support and signed into law, more than 30 states had passed or were considering similar legislation. In addition, British Columbia Premier John Horgan said he would authorize the move to permanent daylight saving time if Washington, Oregon and California did so.

“It’s part of a movement to get rid of this absurd clock-switching thing that doesn’t make sense anymore,” Riccelli said.

But before any state can stay on year-round daylight time, it has to be recognized by the federal government. States may decide on their own, however, to remain on standard time — observed from November through March.

Experts in depression and sleep science say it would be healthier to either keep the time change or stay permanently on standard time. Both those options would be more in line with our natural circadian rhythms, which are synced with morning light.


Horacio de la Iglesia, a professor of biology at the University of Washington, whose work on sleep cycles contributed to Seattle Public Schools’ decision to start school later for middle and high school students, said permanent DST would be a nightmare for Seattle and Western Washington.

“We haven’t experienced anything like it here,” he said of the potentially late winter sunrises. “It will take only one winter for people in Seattle to realize what they allowed to happen.”

He’s urging people to call their U.S. representatives and senators now “because it’s much harder to reverse a law than it is to oppose a bill.”

Sarah Sullivan said she realizes she is in the minority when she responded to the Times’ poll to make no change.

“Where we live, the current system utilizes our daylight most appropriately,” she wrote. “To me, it’s worth the 2 days a year of slight inconvenience (and I even say this as a mother of young children) to change the clocks.”

But there are still many committed to daylight saving time.

Miles Erickson, of Whidbey Island, doesn’t understand the arguments for year-round standard time. He leaves for his commute into Seattle at about 6 a.m. and it’s dark in the winter — no matter which time we’re on.


“My morning commutes are always in the dark, standard time or not,” he said.

He much prefers year-round saving time so he can see the sun for an hour or so when he gets off work.

“If we set it up so that the only time we get sun is when we are looking out the office window at it longingly, it’s not too much fun. … If I can get off at 4 p.m. or 3 p.m., I would like to have a few hours of daylight to enjoy,” he said in a phone interview. “Personally, I really appreciate having daylight in the afternoon and would love to have a bit more of it.”

Anthony Stewart also loves the later evening sun and really dislikes the 4:30 p.m. darkness in the winter.

“I’d rather have the extra darkness in the morning when I’m generally working anyway … the weather is generally poor so often, even when the sun has come up, there isn’t much daylight out there anyway,” he wrote in response to the poll.

Michael Edmond Bade, who also picked “always use daylight saving time,” said he loves the longer evenings.


“There’s a chance to do something after work. Otherwise one is indoors all winter,” he wrote.

Riccelli, however, has not given up on DST — though he says he’s willing to compromise should it come to that.

He said some of the arguments about the negative health effects of year-round DST don’t seem to take into account the epidemic of diabetes and childhood obesity.

“It’s not just about circadian rhythms, but about happy, healthy lifestyles,” Riccelli said. “There’s huge impact from being able to get outside and do sports after school and work.”

Kyle Drevniak told the Times he has two boys, 6 and 8, who need time outside when they get home from school at 4 p.m. That is limited with standard time in the winter, he said.

“We’re a native Washington family so we’ve never been afraid of the rain. When they get more time outside their moods are better, they sleep better, and they are more focused the next day at school,” Drevniak said.


And for himself, he would just prefer to have some daylight when he gets off work.

Riccelli said he’s committed to the idea of “ditching the switch,” and would be willing to talk standard time if that’s what people really want. On the other hand, he said, he’s not really sure if people do want standard time or if they are confused.

“Last time around, they were loud, loud, loud in favor of saving time, so I just don’t know what they really want, and maybe they don’t either.”