Aspen Untucked: ‘Springing forward’ isn’t as fun as it sounds
As I get older, I’ve noticed my sleep patterns are drastically changing. I prefer to wake up earlier these days, when it feels like the rest of the country is still in a deep slumber. It makes me think I’m getting a sneak peak on something important. The early morning is also when my thoughts are clearest and I’m able to get a great deal of writing done. After a certain point in the evening, my organizational methods and most hopes of creative thinking disappear completely, and I tend to be asleep on the couch or in my bed no later than 9:30, whether I like it or not.
For me, sleep is a fickle practice, one that always keeps me wanting more. I never seem to get enough of it. In the rare case that I do, I feel tired because I overslept, which has the exact same horrific effect as not getting enough sleep.
The need for sleep seems to differ from person to person. My boyfriend doesn’t seem to need nearly as much of it as I do. He can survive a day relatively well on six or seven hours of sleep while I’m a zombie if I get less than nine. I don’t mind that I need more sleep than him. Frankly, I would sleep much more than nine hours per night if I had the time. I read somewhere that a human being spends about 30 percent of their life sleeping. A personal goal of mine is to get closer to 35 percent.
Regardless of how much sleep one needs, I think most all of us can agree that having to move our clocks forward one hour this past Sunday morning was the most painful slumber disruption ever — besides the obvious natural disasters, burglar break-ins, insomnia, need to urinate and other related inconveniences.
Daylight Savings Time (excuse me, it’s actually Daylight Saving Time) was originally started as a way to maximize evening sunlight hours, but who did it and when are often misunderstood. A huge misconception is that it exists to give farmers more time to tend to their crops. In fact, farmers were and still are against the time change. Another assumption is that Benjamin Franklin came up with the idea, which is not true. The person who actually invented the inconvenient concept was Englishman William Willett. He believed we should all have more time in the evenings to enjoy the sunlight. However, he died before he could see his dream come true. The Germans actually instated the time change April 20, 1916, during World War I, to conserve electricity. The United Kingdom followed suit weeks later, and America took up the trend March 31, 1918. Today, nearly 70 countries practice daylight saving; however, in our own country, Hawaii and Arizona do not.
Now, Daylight Saving Time isn’t all bad. I can get behind the idea of having more sunshine in the evenings—that’s what makes summertime so wonderful. I’m all about having light into the nights for camping, barbecues, picnics and even hikes. However, messing with our sense of time isn’t just inconvenient, it’s straight dangerous. Academic studies have actually been conducted showing that there is an increase in fatal accidents in the U.S. following the time change in the spring and before the change in the fall. That, and the fact that I’m having trouble keeping my eyes open right now are the main reasons I’m not a fan of Daylight Saving Time.
When it comes to bedtime slumber, every minute; no, every second counts, and I’m no more willing to give up one of those seconds than I am willing to give up one of my toenails. OK, that sounds a bit dramatic, but exhaustion sometimes makes me dramatic, which is another reason Daylight Saving Time shouldn’t exist — we don’t need more drama in this world.
In conclusion, I’m tired, I don’t like Daylight Saving Time, and I want my hour of sleep back, not in eight months, but now. I realize that won’t be happening, but sometimes it just feels good to let these woes out. Thanks for reading, and good luck out there with the time change.
Barbara Platts apologizes if she was slightly rude in this piece … she’s just really tired. Reach her (during normal awake hours) at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BarbaraPlatts.
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