Why does this keep happening?

Even though Washington state lawmakers voted last year to do away with the twice-yearly back-and-forth with the clock, and the governor signed the legislation, and the state’s representatives in D.C. promised to support it, you still have to turn your clocks ahead one hour this Sunday for daylight saving time.

As far as sleep, this is considered the bad one of the two time-change weekends. (And with coronavirus floating around and experts saying quality sleep is an important preventive action, it’s an inopportune time to lose an hour.)

Before the state can adopt permanent daylight time, Congress would have to act to allow it. Under current federal law, states can decide either to be on permanent standard time or to switch back and forth between standard time and daylight time.

The state has previously wrestled with the idea of ditching the time change, but it failed in years past because it was focused on staying on permanent standard time, which was unpopular with state residents, according to Sen. Jim Honeyford of Sunnyside, one of the sponsors of last year’s bill.

This time around, however, the people of Washington overwhelmingly supported a different tactic: switching to permanent daylight saving time, said Honeyford and Rep. Marcus Riccelli of Spokane, another sponsor.

It’s part of a larger movement across the United States, from Washington to Florida and along the West Coast, to #ditchtheswitch and #locktheclock. Even British Columbia, Canada, has said it would adopt permanent daylight saving time if the rest of the West Coast did.

Advertising

In a recent poll by The Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 71 percent of Americans said they don’t want to keep moving the clock in spring and fall, though they are divided on whether they prefer standard or daylight saving time, which is what we observe from March through the beginning of November.

On Seattle’s shortest winter day, the sun rises about 8 a.m. and sets at 4:20 p.m. If we were on Pacific Daylight Time in the winter, as proposed, the sun would rise about 9 a.m. and set at 5:20 p.m. on the shortest day of the year.

Supporters of ditching the switch have argued that eliminating the time seesaw has a host of benefits, including health, public-safety and energy-saving gains. Proponents of Pacific Daylight Time say it gives people an extra hour of daylight during winter evenings, when we need it the most.

People who study sleep disorders and seasonal affective disorders have warned, however, that daylight saving time is harder on the body, as morning light is significantly more important than evening light for establishing and syncing the body’s circadian rhythms.

More