If I had a choice, I’d vote to abolish the time change. It’s not just the bother of re-setting all the clocks that annoys me. It disturbs my equilibrium and imposes a couple weeks of feeling blah before my body and brain adjust.
Now that I’m retired, the adjustment is slightly less upsetting, but when I taught children all day, every day, I observed how intensely “falling back” affected them. Every fall they became out-of-sorts, had trouble sleeping at night, according to their parents, and concentrating during the day. They complained of hunger an hour before mealtimes or weren’t interested in eating when mealtimes rolled around. It always amazed me how much an hour’s difference one way or the other unsettled them, until I recognized the same symptoms in myself.
I daresay Englishman William Willett wasn’t thinking about human circadian rhythms when he recommended Daylight Saving Time. Good ol’ Will certainly failed to consider its effects on children. His purpose was to move the clocks forward so more people could enjoy summer’s sunshine. Because of him, we change our clocks in the summer months to move an hour of sunlight from morning to evening. Okay, that sounds like a good idea, but if it’s such a good idea why do we change back to standard time in the fall?
Last evening, my husband and I had finished dinner and were watching TV when we both started yawning. “I’m so sleepy,” he remarked. “It must be time to go to bed.”
“I can hardly keep my eyes open,” I complained. I checked my phone and it was 8:00 pm. What good is a bonus hour if you can’t stay awake to enjoy it?
I discovered numerous online articles offering useless suggestions about how to adjust to the time change. One expert recommended not using the extra hour to sleep in. Really? Like that’s even an option for parents. Children who normally wake up at 6:00 am will now wake up at 5:00 am. Parents, teachers, and school-aged children will be ready for a nap before lunchtime. The same expert warned against giving in to the urge to nap. One recommended taking a ninety-minute afternoon siesta. Ha!
Another writer suggested refreshing your bedroom with a new mattress, pillows, and sheets to encourage rest and relaxation. Right! Every October we’re all going to storm Bed, Bath and Beyond and spend hundreds of dollars to spruce up our bedrooms.
The worst suggestion was to avoid caffeine. What? My body is already in a state of circadian pandemonium and you want me to avoid caffeine? Be serious.
Despite public outcry in 1966, Congress officially made the time change a law. According to Remy Melina who writes for the online magazine Live Science, “Hawaii and Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Reservation), still choose not to partake in the convention, as do some U.S. territories, including American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.” In my opinion, that’s one of the best arguments yet for moving to Hawaii. Don’t they also grow coffee beans there?
Cindy L. Freeman is the author of two award-winning short stories, a novella, Diary in the Attic, and three published novels: Unrevealed, The Dark Room, and I Want to Go Home. Website: www.cindylfreeman.com; Facebook page: Cindy Loomis Freeman. Her books are available through amazon.com or hightidepublications.com