If we let our internet-connected devices mind the time for us, we can shift the time gradually instead of an hour at a time.
Everybody hates daylight savings time. In the fall we lose an hour of daylight in the evening. In the spring we lose an hour of sleep, which does actual harm. (Among other things, the day after DST kicks in has more heart attacks than any other day of the year.) There is really compelling evidence that we should quit screwing with the time twice a year, and in fact is should stay in the ‘permanent daylight savings time’ mode.
Defenders of the status quo cite several arguments, most prominently the safety of children waiting by the side of the road for school buses in the dark, especially in rural regions with nonexistent street lighting. Nevermind the fact that the real problem here is insane elementary school schedules, this is a real problem.
Let’s assume clock-shifting isn’t going away. Does it need to happen twice a year, an hour each time? The Apple Watch is one more device in our lives that adjust the time on its own. How many non-internet connected clocks does the average household have?
Suppose we took the seasonal time shifts, and just continuously adjusted the clocks all year round. Every morning you wake up, and the time has shifted three minutes or so: forward during the summer, back during the winter. The stress of losing sleep goes away entirely, as do many of the other problems associated with time changes and the jarring effects. What you’re left with is having to adjust your old clocks at whatever schedule you like.
If this seems like a pain, consider how often you actually look at what we might as well call legacy clocks. Consider how inexpensive it is today to buy self-adjusting clocks, which don’t rely on an internet connection to work. Got clocks with sentimental value? Just swap out the movement and you’re set.
The beauty of this is that it could be adopted on a state-by-state, country-by-country basis. All you need is enough of a critical mass for smartphone software manufacturers to build it into their OS. These all already have world clock functions, so communicating with people in legacy time zones would not be particularly complicated. Seems almost inevitable that this is how it will work in the future, so why not now? The life we save could be yours.