Time is not on our side with Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time is one of those common practices that seems to defy common sense, but yet, no one does anything about it except complain.

Daylight Saving Time (DST) refers to moving clocks forward one hour in the spring and back again in the fall. Depending where you are reading this, you may or may not be subject to this atrocity, which I can only describe as cruel and unusual punishment.

No one is being fooled here — well at least no one in Saskatchewan or Arizona is being fooled. If anyone is still in “the dark,” let me enlighten you. DST does not add daylight. In a letter to the editor to the Denver Post, I read one of my most favourite comments regarding this archaic practice: “As a wise old Arizona Native American chief once said when daylight saving was explained to him: ‘Only a white man would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew it to the bottom of a blanket and have a longer blanket.'”

Really we aren’t saving any daylight — just shifting our schedules around it — so shouldn’t we call it daylight shifting time?

People justify DST by saying that it is for the farmers, and helps them with their crop work, but how can that be when Saskatchewan, perhaps the farming province, doesn’t subscribe to DST?

Others say it is to save energy, but remember that DST was enacted in the First World War in many places to conserve coal and is not reflective of today’s energy practices. (And many places repealed it right after the war anyhow.)

A bit of online research shows that while DST saves on electricity for lights in the majority of months, electricity consumption has increased for heating and cooling under DST (so at least the power companies have a reason to love it). Specifically, now that we’re up earlier, our heating bill goes up with this additional hour of darkness in the morning, because it is cold and dark.

Some credit Benjamin Franklin for DST, and, well, he was a smart guy, so it must be good, right? First, he mentioned it, but was not the guy that made it happen. Second, he is also the guy quoted as saying: “Lost time is never found again.” So why would we want to lose an hour in the spring? Benjamin Franklin is clearly against it.

The real guy who came up with the idea was New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson. To be clear, we are allowing our sleep patterns to be altered because of a bug collector. And I bet he was a morning person, too.

“Fall back” suits my night-owl tendencies, as I can make myself believe that I have an extra hour to sleep, but my kids are not fooled — they will be up at the same internal clock hour, thus wrecking even the one part of DST that I could live with.

“Spring forward” continues as a painful experience every time for me, and the pain lasts for more than a week. It makes me cranky. I don’t get a lot of sleep to start, and I really don’t want to lose an hour. Aren’t we already sleep deprived enough with the frenetic pace of life we face?

Can’t we agree that DST is stressful? There are a lot clocks to change, and inevitably I’ll miss one. I even forget it is DST, regardless of the number of reminders. There have been years that I have missed the hotel free breakfast with my kids because I set my alarm for 30 minutes before the end of the free breakfast but forgot it was DST. (Try and explain that to the kids when you are overtired and hungry and frustrated for missing breakfast).

Another reason to abolish DST is that most of us spell it wrong. While the practice of turning our clocks one hour ahead is often called “daylight savings time,” the correct term is daylight saving time. That’s right — no ‘s.’

Now I have to pull out the big guns. Academic studies in well-known journals have found there are more heart attacks following the spring forward, and there are more car accidents, and more depression and high blood pressure.

The case for Daylight Saving Time is no longer clear. In fact, since we’re actually on DST more months of the year than we are on “regular time” (or whatever it’s called), why don’t we just stay on DST all the time?

Let us challenge common practice with common sense and rise up and say: “I’m tired as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore. Stop messing with my sleep patterns!”

There’s a platform for savvy politician here. Referendum anyone? Let’s vote on it this week, while we’re all still reeling from the unnecessary stress and change in our lives.

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