COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — It is almost our favorite time of the year again, the night where we all get an extra hour of sleep. Followed up quickly by our most unfavorite evening of the year, the one where we all realize the sun now sets around 5:30 p.m. This all happens on Sunday, Nov. 5 at 2 a.m. when we “fall back” one hour.

Usually this sparks the debate on if we should stay on daylight saving time all year, or should we continue to keep changing our clocks twice a year. Lawmakers continue to have this same debate with hopes of actually ending the debate next month with the Sunshine Protection Act of 2023. But as of the writing of this story, the bill hasn’t made it far enough to impact the time on your clock, your phone, or your watch.

I am not trying to enter this debate, but I thought it would be interesting to see what it really looked like if we never changed time anymore. So I went through the data and looked at what a uniform standard time (the time we are about to enter into for the winter) vs. a uniform daylight saving time for Columbus would look like.

I thought the easiest way to do represent this, would be in a chart, with the monthly “average” sunrise and sunset times, which are listed below:

CurrentDaylight Saving TimeStandard Time
with time changesall year longall year long
Jan rise7:47a8:47a7:47a
Jan set5:33p6:33p5:33p
Feb rise7:23a8:23a7:23a
Feb set6:07p7:07p6:07p
Mar rise6:58a/7:33a7:40a6:40a
Mar set6:39p/7:45p7:40p6:40p
Apr rise6:54a6:54a5:54a
Apr set8:11p8:11p7:11p
May rise6:18a6:18a5:18a
May set8:41p8:41p7:41p
Jun rise6:04a6:04a5:04a
Jun set9:00p9:00p8:00p
Jul rise6:19a6:19a5:19a
Jul set8:55p8:55p7:55p
Aug rise6:45a6:45a5:45a
Aug set8:24p8:24p7:24p
Sep rise7:14a7:14a6:14a
Sep set7:38p7:38p6:38p
Oct rise7:44a7:44a6:44a
Oct set6:52p6:52p5:52p
Nov rise8:02a/7:19a8:17a7:17a
Nov set6:28p/5:16p6:18p5:18p
Dec rise7:44a8:44a7:44a
Dec set5:12p6:12p5:12p
Average sunrise/sunset times Columbus, Ohio, current time setup vs EDT (daylight saving) vs EST (standard time)

Notice in the chart above, I have multiple “average times” listed in March and November, that is before and after time changes for each month. This is also why only one time exists in the EDT & EST times for those months.

Looking at all the data, since we live the majority of the year (65%) in daylight saving time, we understand well the perks, like having later sunsets in the spring, summer and fall. But if you are an early bird, the later sunrises may not be your thing. By contrast, in the late fall and winter we are in standard time and deal with early sunsets — and pretty late sunrises, too.

This is just the price we pay for living in Ohio. No matter what tricks we play with the clock, we can’t add the amount of total daily daylight we get during the cold winter months. Consider this, if we were to change to daylight saving time all year, our sunsets would remain in the 6pm or later for all of winter. On the flip side, the sunrises would be in the 8 a.m. hour all winter long, with the latest sunrises in late December and early January coming closer to the 9 a.m. hour (8:53 a.m.).

OK, by contrast, what if we always stayed on standard time? Well, this would possibly be the biggest shift for many of us, since we only spend about 35% of the year on this time right now. This time would not have any impact on what we are used to from early November to early March. But come spring we would see some noticeable differences.

Right now our earliest sunrises all year long occur in June at 6:02 a.m. If we were to stay on standard time year-round, we would have pre-6 a.m. sunrises starting in April. In fact, we would have sunrises in the 5 a.m. hour from mid-April through August, with the earliest in June at 5:02 a.m. So yes, it would be light out in the 4 a.m. hour during the late spring through early summer.

On the flip side, gone would be the long evenings with sunsets after 9 p.m. and twilight pushing toward 10 p.m. In fact, on standard time year-round, our latest sunsets would barely crack the 8 p.m. hour, with the latest twilight hours getting close to 9 p.m.

Below is a listing of the current sunrise and sunset times to start and finish the months for Columbus:

Jan start7:53a5:17p
Jan finish7:41a5:49p
Feb start7:40a5:50p
Feb finish7:05a6:23p
Mar start7:04a6:24p
EDT starts7:50a7:34p
Mar end7:16a7:55p
Apr start7:15a7:56p
Apr end6:32a8:26p
May start6:31a8:27p
May end6:05a8:54p
Jun start6:05a8:55p
Jun end6:06a9:04p
Jul start6:07a9:04p
Jul end6:30a8:46p
Aug start6:31a8:44p
Aug end6:59a8:04p
Sep start7:00a8:02p
Sep end7:27a7:14p
Oct start7:28a7:13p
Oct end8:00a6:30p
Nov start8:00a6:29p
EST starts7:05a5:25p
Nov end7:33a5:07p
Dec start7:34a5:07p
Dec end7:53a5:16p
Earliest6:02a (mid Jun)5:06p (early Dec)
Latest8:04a (early Nov)9:04p (late Jun)
Current starting & ending sunrise/sunset times for each month in Columbus, Ohio

Did you notice the latest sunrise of the year now actually occurs right before we “fall back” in early November just after 8 a.m.? If we never changed the time, either EDT always or EST always, our latest sunrises would be in late December to early January.

While it might seem like it is an easy fix to just stick with one time the entire year, when you look at the data, it isn’t so simple. Both EDT and EST have their pros and cons, as does our current system. Now you have the data to back up your argument, no matter which time you prefer.

Just remember, it is a good idea to check/change the batteries in your smoke detectors, test out the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, too. Most importantly, enjoy that extra hour of sleep we get.