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Summer's Catastrophic Jet Lag

Here comes my yearly rant about Daylight Saving Time, except I'm actually writing it down this year. Maybe somehow by doing so, it will be emblazoned upon the collective consciousness of the internet-bound society and make its way past the ignorance factor of Americans coast to coast who rise up with shouts of incomprehensible indignation twice a year.

Now, most rants about DST go a little something like this:

1) I hate it because it makes me lose sleep and messes up my sleeping patterns!!!!11!1!!!1

Daylight Saving Time calls for all of us to shift our schedules by exactly one hour earlier every day during the summer. Here is the NET TOTAL effect of this: we lose one hour during one Sunday morning in the Spring. Because our ENTIRE SCHEDULE is shifted, and by only one hour, it is like stepping over the border from New Mexico to Oklahoma on the morning of March 9, except EVERYONE GOES WITH YOU. Why is the weekend it starts described as when you "lose an hour of sleep"? Why does it have to be sleep? Go to bed an hour earlier on that day and you've just solved that problem.

The other net effect of DST is the effect it is designed for in the first place - to shift the daylight hours from earlier in the regular human day to later. This means nothing except that all regular human activity simply takes place one hour earlier in the natural day during the summer than it did in the winter. For most humans, daylight in the evening hours is more valuable than daylight in the morning hours. And during the summer, where more people are spending time outside during the evening hours, this is a net gain in the amount of time available to do outside activities during daylight. Everyone wins! Unless you like to go to bed at 5:00pm.

What seems to throw people for a mental loop about this is the fact that you are doing everything "earlier" and therefore throwing off your sleeping rhythms and making yourself sleep-deprived. But that would only happen if you are forcing yourself to lose sleep by staying up an hour later every night. Again, your entire schedule is shifted, not just sleep. You are not changing your schedule at all, just when the sun rises and sets relative to it. Again, this is exactly what you do when you cross a time zone line, but nobody is complaining about that. And if you are complaining about the adjustment to one hour of difference, God help you if you fly across the world and change it by 12 hours.

2) It's outdated. We've got electricity now.

Having lights in your house takes away from the advantages of more sunlight in the evening? You'd rather have a streetlight than sunlight? Are we vampires?

In fact, I think this is a better argument for going to DST all year long rather than just the summer. We've got lights for the morning now.

3) It's a hassle.

Good grief. If taking five minutes to change your clocks is too much of an intrusion, then what do you do during the day anyway?

In summary, it seems that DST is one of those things that raises noisy ire among many every year who resist doing something small to change rather than embracing something that brings them benefit. Maybe someday all the squeaky wheels will get their way and DST will be done away with. It won't ruin the world. But until then, I'm going to actually get outside and bask in the extra summer that's been given to me.

(click image to read)

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Blogger Sara Holland - 5:17 PM

Okay, that article is HILARIOUS! And I love how she blames it on the liberal congress. : )    

Blogger Jessica - 2:14 PM

I've been thinking about this post all week, as I listen to the incessant whining of everyone around me.

Guess what? Other than making it a little harder to get up in the morning because it's still dark out, it doesn't affect me at all. In fact, I was looking forward to it because I love the light at night!

People need to get a life. It's all in their heads.    

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