Friday, March 12, 2010

Down With Daylight Saving Time

Posted By on Fri, Mar 12, 2010 at 11:43 AM

Sunday, March 14, is a day I’ve been dreading since last fall. It’s the day we are robbed of an hour of sleep. The day we are robbed of much anticipated daylight in the morning. The day that throws us into an unrelenting spiral of drowsiness and resentment.

It may seem like a melodramatic description of Daylight Saving Time, but I’m not alone in my hatred of the time change.

A completely and utterly unscientific poll of the BW office (or at least those co-workers within a 10-foot radius of my desk) elicited nearly universal negative feelings about Daylight Saving Time. Well, actually it elicited three "ugs," one hearty “boo” and one noncommittal “Idonknow”. Still, the results are just as clear as a group of already sleep-deprived reporters can make it. Just think of how fuzzy it will all be come Monday morning when we’re feeling the full effects of losing even more sleep.

And it appears that my loathing of the time change isn’t without merit. According to several recent studies (with actual science behind them) the spring switch actually carries some physical dangers including an increased risk of heart attacks, car crashes and injuries at work as the groggy masses try to make it through their artificially shortened day. This danger extends those trying to walk in the new darkness of the morning.

I doubt Benjamin Franklin had vehicle/pedestrian collisions in mind when he first proposed Daylight Saving Time. He wanted everyone to be more productive. Just about every supporter since has touted the increased light in the evening, as well as the energy savings that come with it. The rationale has long been that with more daylight in the evenings, when people are home, they will have less need to use lights or other energy-draining appliances.

Not everyone has been convinced that the benefits outweigh the inconveniences. The United States had its first brief flirtation with Daylight Saving Time back in 1918, during World War I, but that was repealed after the end of the war. Of course, individual states kept doing it, so that was a bit of a nightmare. Then, from 1942-1945, there was year-round “war time” during World War II, after that, it was again up to the states to decide what time it was. It wasn’t until 1966, that there was a national standard adopted.

Still, places like Arizona and Hawaii don’t observe Daylight Saving Time, well, except of course for the Navajo Nation, which does … see, still one big mess.

But, regardless of how we as individuals feel about it, the time change is going to happen, and it’s going to impact us all. There are plenty of articles listing advice on how to help your body adjust to the change, but it all comes down to trying to steel a little more sleep.

That’s exactly what I plan to be doing when the change actually happens at 2 a.m. on Sunday. I make no promises about Monday morning.


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