2016-03-24 / Opinions

This springtime Daylight Saving Time change is a big pain, no matter what scientists tell us

By KIP BURKE
news editor

Spring forward” sounds so chipper and hopeful, doesn’t it?

Not to me. A week or two after the time change, the “spring forward” part of Daylight Saving Time just seems to be a big pain in the neck. Effects seem to range from deadly to just annoying, and I’m not saying that just because I’m writing this half-asleep, well before daylight on a Monday morning, and my coffee hasn’t kicked in yet.

I don’t think I’m the only one who’s bothered by this.

The time change really messes some folks up. Studies show that the number of serious heart attacks jumps by 6 to 10 percent on the first three workdays after the time change, and the number of traffic accidents spikes on the Monday after the clocks are moved forward. Even suicides increase in the first week after the time change.

What’s worse is that so-called sleep experts say we should cut back on caffeine this week to help us deal with the time change. Cut back on caffeine? Are they kidding? If any pencil-neck, clipboard-toting scientist tried to separate me from my precious, life-giving coffee right now, I’d “spring forward” and give them a wake-up call upside the head. Then I’d pour another cup.

Is nothing sacred?

And that’s just the adults. Just an hour of sleep deprivation really shows u p in our kids’ behavior

–they’re more cranky and moody (like we’re not) and it may take them a few days to quit snarling and return to their normal sweet selves.

With teenagers, of course, it’s worse. Studies show that teens’ natural circadian rhythms don’t allow them to sleep until 11 p.m. and scientists say they shouldn’t be expected to be alert in school before 9 a.m. Teachers, y’all know what I mean, and God help you survive this week. It may be April before teens become halfway bearable again, although they’re still managing to communicate by sighing, rolling their eyes, and slamming doors.

Another expert advised to get ready for the switch in advance. “I think you should start imagining it’s Daylight Saving on Friday,” James MacFarlane of the Toronto Sleep Institute told the Weather Network. “Then you have two days to grow accustomed to it and you’re less likely to get into problems Monday morning.” Yeah, screw up your weekend instead.

I suppose there are some positive sides to this time change. After a day or two, I’ve noticed, I begin to feel a little virtuous about rising so long before daylight, and I also realize how much I have time after work to do yard work. In fact, I tend to work a lot later after the time change because 5 p.m. seems to come in the middle of the afternoon and I feel guilty to knock off so early.

Come to think of it, that’s not all that positive, is it?

But the whole idea of Daylight Saving Time was originally to save energy, right? Well, based on a recent analysis by the U.S. Department of Energy, DST does indeed reduce the nation’s power consumption, but only by a tiny amount. Even with Extended DST, the results of energy conservation showed that morning power usage increased by roughly 2 percent, while evening power usage dropped by 1 percent.

That’s not worth losing sleep over, is it?

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