Issues & Insights
Photo by Cats Coming on

This Saturday, Just Say No To The Clock-Changing Madness: It’s Pointless And Dangerous

This weekend, hundreds of millions of Americans will dutifully set their clocks back one hour, convincing themselves that they’ve “gained” an hour – despite spending at least part of it resetting all their timepieces.

Americans should instead refuse to play along. Few government mandates combine such utter pointlessness and serious public health harms than the twice-a-year switch on and off Daylight Saving Time. It’s time to end the madness.

First, despite its label, “Daylight Saving Time” does not save daylight. It doesn’t even save energy. Two studies looked at energy use before and after changes in DST laws. Indiana went on daylight saving time statewide for the first time in 2006, and in 2007 when President George W. Bush’s godawful energy bill started DST three weeks earlier.

Both found no energy savings. Energy use in Indiana actually went up when it went on DST. So if switching back and forth each year doesn’t save energy, what does it do?

What is clear is that it is a real public health hazard.

A study in Health Economics found that “springing forward” causes “the suicide rate to rise by 6.25% and the death rate from suicide and substance abuse combined to increase by 6.59% directly after the time change.”

Another study published in Sleep Medicine found a significant increase in traffic fatalities on the Monday after the switch to DST, because people are sleep-deprived by having to get up an hour earlier.

But the study also found that traffic fatalities climbed on the Sunday after everyone “falls back” to standard time. As the researchers noted:

The behavioral adaptation anticipating the longer day on Sunday of the shift from DST in the fall leads to an increased number of accidents suggesting an increase in late night (early Sunday morning) driving when traffic-related fatalities are high possibly related to alcohol consumption and driving while sleepy.

The annual switch also correlates with higher rates of heart attacks and workplace injuries.

Dr. Rajkumar Dasgupta told CNN last week that this weekend’s time shift will also trigger cluster headaches. He adds that it “may increase Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression triggered by the changing of the seasons and waning daylight. It’s well documented that (the time change) does not directly cause mental health conditions, but it definitely can really do a number on people with preexisting conditions.”

So, why do we bother with this ritual? To have an extra hour of daylight during summer evenings? And if DST does save energy, as some insist, then why go off it in the winter … when evening daylight is more precious and fleeting?

There have been efforts in Congress to stop this nonsense.

Last year, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., pushed a bill that would make daylight saving time permanent, nationwide. Rubio’s bill passed by unanimous consent, only to die in the House where then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi wouldn’t take it up.

Meanwhile, nearly two dozen states have passed bills expressing their desire to remain on DST year-round. But they can’t implement these bills because federal law allows states to stay only on standard time year-round, so states aren’t allowed to switch to permanent DST without a change in federal law.

Why make DST the standard? Why not make “standard” time the standard? Just pick one and go with it. (Given that we are on “standard” time for only four months and DST for eight, it makes sense to make DST the standard.)

You don’t have to wait for the federal government to retract this idiocy. Just refuse to change your clocks, starting this weekend. On Sunday, get up at the same time you always do. Go to work at the same time next Monday as you did this Friday.

The only difference you’ll experience is that your commute will be easier, and you can still get a little bit of daylight at the end of the workday. Better still, when the rest of the country goes back to Daylight Saving Time in just four months, and everyone else is suffering the ill effects of these time changes, you will have happily and healthfully avoided this stupidity.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

We Could Use Your Help

Issues & Insights was founded by seasoned journalists of the IBD Editorials page. Our mission is to provide timely, fact-based reporting and deeply informed analysis on the news of the day -- without fear or favor.

We’re doing this on a voluntary basis because we believe in a free press, and because we aren't afraid to tell the truth, even if it means being targeted by the left. Revenue from ads on the site help, but your support will truly make a difference in keeping our mission going. If you like what you see, feel free to visit our Donations Page by clicking here. And be sure to tell your friends!

You can also subscribe to I&I: It's free!

Just enter your email address below to get started.


I & I Editorial Board

The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • I truly do not understand “Daylight Savings Time.” There are 24 hours in each day. Each individual can determine how they want to manage that time. Get up early, get up late. But don’t change clock twice a year for no real reason.

    • the intent was to give us more daylight hours to enjoy in the summer by extending sunset 1hr.

      • We always have the same number of daylight hours regardless of how the clock is adjusted

      • Oh, good grief. It’s not about “enjoyment”. We use to be an agrarian society. Many of us actually worked outside.

  • I have an MS from Caltech in Social Science (economics and political science). I worked for about 30 years for a group of Rural Electric Co-ops (and earlier RAND, PG&E and JPL). One of my efforts was a very thorough electric power forecast analysis. (Ten years of daily energy use for a dozen Northwest retail co-ops with four rate classes and about 80 independent variables). The Daylight Savings Time variable showed a small savings of electric energy with a significant t-test. The R-square was 0.985. (This didn’t test natural gas or other energy savings.)

    • I spent my career in electric (and gas for a while) forecasting. You might be right, but with 80 independent variables in your analysis, I suspect there might be a great deal of multicollinearity in your regression model. Did you check for that?

  • Agree! The switching forward and back is disruptive and a useless artifact of an earlier age. A century later its utility value is negative as well as presenting a threat to the health and safety for millions affected where it’s still followed. I cast my vote with those favoring DST for the entire twelve months of each year ASAP!

  • Ask Rubio rhay if Daylight Savings Time is such a good ideas, why not push the clocks ahead two or three hours instead of one?

  • And your kids will be alone on the playground for an hour, and you can sit in the Dr office for 2 hours instead of one. Need I go on? The solution is to get Congress to fix it. Oh, wait, fix and Congress in the same sentin/se broc ….mi.,.,copuutter.

  • Leave us at Standard Time year round. Have lived in the E.U for several years and they are on Standard Time and it is nice to not worry about “changing time”. If you are a morning person you will get up with or before the sun. If you are an evening person you stay up later even after the sun has set. And if you are a farmer or rancher you will continue to work with what this planet gives you. And it does take the farmers and ranchers to feed all the rest of the people on this planet. So I say to support the Most Important providers for the majority of the people on this planet!

    • The EU is still changing their clocks twice per year. Hope you changed yours 2 days ago when everyone else did in the EU.

    • Nope. And that’s why I can’t support the abolition of the clock changing ritual, because if we’re going to stick with one year-round, the answer is DST or “summer” time.

  • The reason not to have daylight saving time in the winter is that kids will have to go to school in the dark.

    • So why not start school an hour later, rather than force everyone to change their clocks?

    • You and I and one other poster seem to be the only ones that know why we have daylight savings time. It’s so kids don’t have to get on buses in the dark hello! It saves lives… Our kids lives. I don’t like the adjustment either but don’t blame the government just take the week off if you need time to adjust.

    • Actually, we go off DST so kids don’t have to go to school in the dark. We go on so there would be more afterschool hours to help farm in the summer.

      So split the difference: move the clocks 1/2 hour and then leave them alone.

  • This works to help summer business’ like golf courses or even personal things like hiking tennis, pickleball softball etc that require daylight to better utilize the available daytime. Come on do you want to get up at 4 am to go to work so you can get done in time to utilize the evening? Is that any worse for you than spending a couple minutes changing your clock.

    • @Jeff,
      Please go back and read through the long list of valid reasons for ending this foolishness.
      It is not about “…spending a couple of minutes changing your clock.”
      It IS about burying people who died because of arbitrarily changing the time.

    • You are aware, aren’t you Jeff, than when we are on Daylight Saving Time that is precisely what you are doing. Getting up at 4 a.m. to get to work on time so you can utilize the evening?

  • When it was first instituted, the rationale for going DST-as I recall it-was it will be lighter out when kids have to wait for buses.
    In any event, only I&I (of which I am a proud and many times enlightened reader) would waste DST or Standard time on around 1000 words, commenting on the change from one to the other.
    Of course I am just teasing I&I; if I&I wants to write 1000 words on this earth shattering subject, this is one reader who will avidly read it (or maybe I’ll just wait to read it until I get that extra hour)!
    I might even learn something (Oh, by the way: It’s about time that the news world editorialized about such a revolving and existential problem)!

    • Thanks Bryan for the kind words. I would only point out only that this editorial has generated more comments than just about anything we’ve written about in four years (with the possible exception of when we wrote about how government regulations had ruined dishwashers and gas cans)!

      • @Jeff,
        You will just have to excuse those of us who were taught to learn things, remember them, and “recall” them as needed for conversation.
        The recent generations who “Google” search every little factoid and remember nothing clearly have a hard time with that concept.

    • That’s strange. I remember when DST was implemented in may state in spring of 1967. Nobody said it was because we were going to have more daylight waiting for the bus. The exact opposite that it would be DARKER in the mornings was the argument made by those who opposed DST. It’s one of the reasons why people oppose year-round DST. I’m not trying to be rude, but I’m not sure I understand why so many on this post misunderstand the facts and history of DST, but think they do. Just strange.

    • @Bryan,
      That is reminiscent of something Benjamin Franklin did. Upon turning 80, he decided he would begin counting backwards. The next year he ‘turned’ 79, etc.
      In a couple of years, I’m going to start doing the same.

  • How does the government subtly let you know that they are in control of your life???
    By forcing you to change time of day twice a year.

  • Without setting the clocks back, Isn’t there an issue with it being dark in the morning and kids waiting for school busses

  • SWhat I don’t like about eight months of Daylight Savings is that on the longest days of the year there’s daylight at 9:00 pm. That’s a little ridiculous. And in October it’s still dark at 7:15 am. Makes it tough to get up in the morning. But my dad never complained about it so why should I. (I agree with the comment about benefitting golf courses – they love DLT.)

  • when the sun is at its highest point it is NOON. that is GODS time. all others are mere fluffery.

  • No. I want Standard Time. Not Daylight Time. Daylight Time is what’s so dangerous.. This has to be a propaganda piece backed by those ‘gawdawful’ losers that are running our country into oblivion.

  • I completely agree that the switch twice a year is stupid, harmful, and dangerous and should end… however… NO COUNTRY THAT HAS INSTITUED year round DST has maintained it more then a single winter because it is stupid! Under Savings time the sun would not even start rising in January until 8:30am. Human’s instinctive rest patterns to not kick them into gear until the sun is up. You want Kids walking to school in the dark and cold? There is no gain from Savings Time in Summer, vs Standard Time, but Savings time in Winter is also medically and socially harmful, every study by every sleep institute agrees and shows. Yes, end it… we have lived too long under the effects of Daylight Savings Time. Standard Time must be the Standard… year round. End the 8 month enforced yearly jet-lag we have been forcing on ourselves for decades. Make it a relic of the past. End it.

  • I’ve never switched my sleep schedule based on these “time changes” – 9pm to 5am just becomes 10pm to 6am in the Spring. In reality, biologically and astronomically, nothing changes.

    Nevertheless, DST is utter foolishness in this day and age of the non-farming lifestyle and the abundance of powered lighting.

    Now we have more options for adjusting work and school schedules locally to fit sunlit hours as needed rather than this one-size-fits-all 350,000,000+ of us clock shifting scheme.

    One of my favorite moments of life came in 1988 when the Korean government tried to impose DST for the Seoul Olympics and beyond. The people rejected the effort as a “government plot to disrupt the lives of the people.” I agreed then and I agree now – the evidence is in.

  • I get the tongue in cheek but the authors obviously do not go to church, have kids in school and don’t punch a time clock.

  • Do the authors know anything about this subject? This Sunday we set the clock BACK TO STANDARD TIME. That is where it should stay.

  • Here’s the problem: We’re on Daylight Savings Time right now. What we’re switching back to is the correct time. This argument should have been made back in March or April when we switched to DST.

  • Setting the clocks back means more light for the kids at the bus stops in the winter. The question is, why “spring forward”?

  • Love it or hate it, changing the clocks is the one single thing we all have in common. Except for a few exceptions, what else does mankind do together, with a singular purpose, on the same day?

  • Right on! I didn’t change my clocks this year. I live my life on standard ‘normal’ time and just deduct an hour for appointments. It’s ‘time’ to be sensible and stay on ST as it was for centuries!

    • ???????? If you adjust your schedule and mental clock to compensate for DST then are you not living on DST??????

  • Make standard time the norm I have always hated day light time it is a farce and always has been just another stupid law the uniparty has stuck us with.

  • After the second day everything is back to normal best to worry about the current wars we are illegally in

  • It would be nice if we could…just say no. And some of us could, partially. But, if you have a job and you were to do what this article suggests, I’m sure your boss will not be sympathetic. What about appointments and the rest of society around you operating at a different time. No….you can’t just say no…and this person writing this knows that! But, I do agree it’s stupid and our inept Congress should change it. But, considering the other insanity going on around us…..I dont see them considering it or making it a priority. Nor…is it of real concern when that world you live in is burning down all around you. So really….how important is this? Not to!!!

  • No it’s not “dangerous”. Hamas is dangerous! Open borders are dangerous. Leave it alone! Why do people have to change everything if it’s not broken?

  • No one seems to know why because we are no longer an agrarian society. My family are generations of farmers, so we know why it switches back after harvest.

  • A state can opt out of Daylight Saving Time.
    A state can also choose their time zone.
    Some states like Massachusetts and Connecticut
    have considered doing exactly that.
    Dropping DST and changing to the Atlantic Time Zone
    would be the same as Daylight Saving Time year round.

  • I’ve got no problem dumping the fall-back-spring-forward scheme, but advocates need to use valid arguments. starting off with a complaint about *all the time spent* resting clocks is nonsense. you’d have to have a dozen or more watches and clocks to reset for it to take any appreciable effort.
    the vast majority of Americans keep time primarily with smart devices that reset themselves. I’ll move the hands on a wall clock in my kitchen – 5 seconds of effort, then will have to reset one wrist watch and the clock in an old pickup…maybe 3 minutes of effort. If you add an offline stove and microwave, you might top 5 or 6 minutes of effort. big deal.

  • suicide and drug use? correlation is not the same as cause and effect. no one is committing suicide b/c the clocks changed. maybe they both happen the same time of year as something else, like bad weather, lonely holidays, etc.

  • After it was agreed that the earth fully rotates in 24 hours, the sages divided the surface into 24 “time zones” so that the sun was roughly overhead at local noon in each of the zones. This organization of time was a matter of definition. Daytime is when the sun shines. Night time is when it’s dark. But this simple arrangement causes confusion when scheduling travel, especially across time zones (not to mention the effect of latitude, i.e. in the far north they observe the “midnight sun”). Does it really matter to you if you manage your day by clock settings, or by light/dark? I suggest you talk to US Navy submarine force personnel who work without sunlight for months at a time. On Navy ships at sea, the clocks are all set to Zulu time (GMT time for you landlubbers) no matter where they are located. If the Pentagon orders something to be done at 0800Z, all the ships around the world will do it at exactly the same time. Very useful, but of course it has no relation to what time zone the individual ship is in. On board the submarines, breakfast occurs at 0600. Is the sun up, or down? Doesn’t really matter. My point is that time is a only a matter of convenience for planning. Don’t mess with the long-established 24 standard time zones.

  • The Russian Federation is, basically, on DST all year round. The Province of Saskatchewan, Canada should be split equally between Mountain and Central time zones, but most of the province is in Central and does not observe DST. This means that while a small part of the province is always the same time as Alberta and switches its clocks twice a year, most of the province does no clock switching and alternates between being the same time as Manitoba to being the same time as Alberta.

About Issues & Insights

Issues & Insights is run by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. Our goal is to bring our decades of combined journalism experience to help readers understand the top issues of the day. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis, because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide. 

We Could Use Your Help

Help us fight for honesty in journalism and against the tyranny of the left. Issues & Insights is published by the editors of what once was Investor's Business Daily's award-winning opinion pages. If you like what you see, leave a donation by clicking on donate button above. You can also set up regular donations if you like. Ad revenue helps, but your support will truly make a difference. (Please note that we are not set up as a charitable organization, so donations aren't tax deductible.) Thank you!