Saturday, March 13, 2010

It's That Time Again


Do we really have to "spring forward" again?


Way back when good ol' Ben Franklin thought this would be a good idea in order to save candles - because people burned them at night but slept past dawn in the summer. The US didn't institute Daylight Saving Time until World War I, thinking then that it would save fuel.

Experts disagree on whether it actually does save energy. And for people who think we get an extra hour of daylight - uh - think again, we don't actually control how long the sun is up, we just change the faces of our clocks.

There are few if any known good effects to this change, but there are known bad effects, some of them really bad, for instance the number of heart attacks increases 6% to 10% in the 3 workdays following the change.

Is any potential savings of electricity worth that?

It's also not pleasant or healthy for dairy cows - especially the switch back in the fall when they have to hold their milk half an hour to an hour longer, depending on how the dairyman deals with the change.

Other than health problems, it causes a lot of confusion in general. Other contries that also observe DST do not necessarily do so on the same day, which can cause confusion for travelers and business communications. Some US states and territories do not observe DST, so at some times in the year they are on the same time as adjoining states and at other times of the year they are not. The start of DST is determined by local time, so on the day of the switch the differences in times between states across the country is different than it normally is.

This sort of confusion led to an innocent student being accused of making a bomb threat against his school. He had called an automated line to get information about scheduled classes. Someone else had made the bomb threat an hour later.

This crazy shift not only causes these sorts of confusion and causes ill health in cows and people, but it very negatively affects people with sleep disorders.

And this is where it gets personal for me.

I feel absolutely nauseated at the thought of the upcoming change. I have a sleep disorder that makes rising early VERY difficult for me.

I teach at the college level, so my schedule varies from semester to semester. This semester I've had to get up at 6:30 daily to teach my 8 o'clock calculus class, and I feel ill every single work day because of that. It has nothing to do with how many hours I sleep, it has to do with rising early in the morning - so it does no good for me just to go to bed an hour earlier. Starting this week I'll be getting up at what was 5:30. I'm not even sure I can do it, and I'm certainly not feeling too confident about how well I'll be able to teach. Both I and my students will have to suffer the consequences of that. Thankfully my schedule next semester does not include an 8am class.

This affects me so strongly that I still remember 5 years ago when it was time to "fall back:" I got the kids up and ready for church. We arrived only to find that the parking lot was empty. It was then that I realized I had missed my chance to stay in bed an hour later, and I actually CRIED over that loss as I drove back home.

Please, PLEASE, someone repeal this INSANE practice between now and tonight. PLEASE!! I BEG YOU!

In 2005, citing negative health effects, the government of Kazakhstan did away with Daylight Saving Time. If only the US government were as smart as that of Kazakhstan in this matter.


edibooks said...

Heidi, my deep sympathies. I give thanks six days a week that I have to awaken to an alarm clock only one day of the week. I have said a prayer for you. I also thought you might enjoy this poem:

Daylight Saving

My answers are inadequate
To those demanding day and date
And ever set a tiny shock
Through strangers asking what's o'clock;
Whose days are spent in whittling rhyme-
What's time to her, or she to Time?

Dorothy Parker

Heidi said...

I love this! I've read so much Dorothy Parker but had never come across this one before!

Thanks so much for saying a prayer for me. This really is a hard thing for me - wish it weren't, but it is - wish they'd do away with it!!

I am looking forward to next fall when I start teaching at 9:30 (and have an evening class) rather than starting at 8am. For better or for worse it's just the way I was created - been this way all my life -