Remind me again why we have Daylight Saving Time?
I’ve heard all the arguments: now we can barbeque at 7 p.m.; now we can walk later in the evening; now we’ll have more time to do things – but none of these points is enough to change my mind. I find the time change to be an insult to both my body and my brain. It will take me at least another week to settle into a routine because my internal clock is still holding on tight to its old settings.
I hate that it stays dark for so long in the morning. I find it so much harder to get up and get going when it’s still dark. I wake up groggy and feel like it’s still 4 a.m. because there is no light coming in the window.
Whether they’re first graders or high school seniors, getting children out of bed for school when it’s pitch dark — or worse yet, in bed at a reasonable hour when it feels much earlier than it is – is a challenge every time we engage in this arbitrary, ridiculous change of the time.
It drives me nuts that for a whole month 9 p.m. hits me like a ton of bricks because I miscalculated how late it was and now it’s almost bedtime. I get behind in my house work and take longer doing everything, thinking I have much more time left to get it done than I actually do. I even find myself feeding my family later because I’m used to cooking at dusk, but now they’re all starving by that time. More than once I’ve looked at the kitchen clock (which, of course, reads the wrong time) and delayed putting supper on, thinking it was too early when really it ends up being too late.
It’s not just springing forward that robs me of sleep, confuses my appetite, and causes the clock in my car to be wrong for weeks at a time. When we fall back in November, I suffer through an adjustment phase, too. For the life of me, I can’t understand why we play God with the clock, tampering with something that needs no fixing. I don’t know many people who welcome the time change, be it in spring or fall. It’s unnatural.
I’ll tell you how this whole mess started; just about 100 years ago, because the sun was up for a time while most people were still asleep in the morning, it was decided that light could be better used during the day when people were awake. The solution was to push the clocks ahead one hour in the spring, forcing people to wake an hour earlier. They would therefore require less energy to light their homes, saving fuel in what many viewed to be an energy crisis during World War I.
When the days started getting shorter in the fall and people awoke to increasing darkness, the clocks were turned back an hour to get more light in the morning. While a few different ideas for time adjustments were attempted and changed over the years, the a Uniform Time Act was adopted in the U.S. in 1966, and much of the world who participated in biannual time change fell in line so as to eliminate the headaches with trade and travel.
So for 50 years we’ve been changing our clocks twice a year to save energy. Seriously, though with the computers and TVs and air conditioners that didn’t exist back then but that are whizzing away in most homes around the world today, are we really saving any energy at all? I would argue that the savings is probably negligible.
That said, I think we should drop Daylight Savings altogether. It’s the only way our body clocks can adapt slowly and steadily to more or less daylight. Observing the time change wreaks havoc with our circadian rhythm, and studies have shown it increases the risk of stroke and heart attack.
The clock shift complicates timekeeping and can disrupt travel, billing, record keeping, and sleep patterns. Yet, for reasons no one can really explain, it’s been mandatory in most of Canada for more than half a decade. Doesn’t make much sense to me.
Because let’s be honest, who among us doesn’t have a clock that only reads the right time for half the year?