Sleep in Sunday! But why?


My friends, Tim and Stephen, played it smart with Daylight Saving Time --they were in Puerto Vallarta last weekend and got an extra hour of sleep as Mexico went back one hour last Sunday. Now this weekend back home in Texas, they’ll get another extra hour of sleep! You may remember back in 2007 when President Bush changed the ‘change day’ to the first weekend in November rather than the last weekend in October -- too much danger in the dark during Halloween for trick-or-treaters. Mexico stuck with the original so if you’re looking for extra hours of sleep consider that trick next time! But this is what we have for us this Sunday:

We Fall Back an Hour this Sunday

I did get the following email from a viewer, who seems a little inconvenienced by the time always changing every few months:

Frank, Why does everyone have to go through a TIME CHANGE again!? Why do we have to change at all? The days are naturally shorter. Marlene

Marlene is right, days are getting naturally shorter. And we don’t ‘save’ anything, especially time -- we just shift it to accommodate our journey around the sun. Consider that if you live at the equator you have 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness every day -- no need to change anything. While closer to the North Pole, like northern Alaska, the sun is up for six months and then down for six months -- it’s either light or dark! Because the Earth tilts and orbits the sun, this natural process occurs and those of us living somewhere between the equator and the poles have to deal with it!

Our solution is to turn back the clocks now and forward them in March, but what if we didn’t do that?! We would keep slightly longer daylight hours (until around 6:30 p.m. versus 5:30 p.m.), but we’d have very late sunrises from December through February. I picked these two days to illustrate:

No Change means later sunrises!

With so many kids walking to school, I can see how dark mornings can be dangerous (we experienced this in 1974 when we tried to save energy by having more daylight and that was an epic fail). Getting the day going with sunshine seems to be preferred over ending it that way.

Does anyone NOT change?

Sure! In fact, Russia stopped a few years back. They got to Daylight Saving Time and just never went off it -- consequently, during Moscow’s winter, the sun comes up just before 9 a.m. and goes down at 4:30 p.m.! Both commutes are pretty dark!

Japan doesn’t change either, but I don’t blame them -- the sun comes up there in winter around 7 a.m. and goes down around 5 p.m., so that works out pretty well.

It’s all about latitude and attitude! Some 70 countries change their clocks, but it’s a matter of what works best for everyone (Arizona and Hawaii and parts of Canada opt out). Fortunately for many of us, a lot of clocks these days just change themselves!

Will we ever decide in the USA to stop the clock change? Time will tell.

Have a GREAT weekend! Sunny and cool the whole way through (and more sleep!).


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About the Authors:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with three decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.