DST Is for the Birds
March 7, 2019|Posted in: Uncategorized
I’m just gonna go on record here as saying I hate Daylight Saving Time in all its shapes and forms.
On the other hand, I love me some good sleep. So you would think I would be all over the “fall back” hour, right? No. It screws up my system. It’s the same reason I make myself get up at my normal time, even on weekends: if I get off-schedule, it just messes with me.
Trips to New York mess with me too, for the same reason. But c’mon, it’s NEW YORK: sometimes the end justifies the means. But I digress.
Anyhoo, while “springing ahead” means more daylight in the warmer months, overall the time change has more negative ramifications on my health and well-being than anything positive I might get out of it. Why is that? Well, let me lay out a few observations here.
That’s the big one, so let’s just get it out of the way up front. Despite my best intentions of staying on schedule, let’s face it: light is still the Number One time cue. I figure jumping the clock ahead an hour will end up costing me about 45 minutes of sleep a night for the next couple weeks.
Studies conducted at Pennsylvania State University a few years back show that DST might also be to blame for wasting time at work. Researchers found that on the Monday after the time change, employees are more likely to browse websites unrelated to their job.
Now, I do that anyway (don’t tell my boss), so I don’t care about that part so much. But I’m also unproductive when I get HOME, and I don’t like that a bit.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
I am a sunshine junkie. Discovering that sunlight could cause cancer was one of the most depressing days of my life. So when DST ends, and we start getting shorter days and fewer hours of sunlight, my seasonal affective disorder kicks into hyperdrive.
(Interestingly enough, they say there is a reverse SAD, too, where people get the blues because there’s too much sun. That is not a concept I can even grasp. But I digress.)
Last year, researchers found a direct relationship between hospital admissions for depression and DST. Admissions highest in the winter—no surprise there—but also note that they peaked right after the time change. I rest my case.
Don’t ask me why, but I always seem to spend more money right after the forward spring. Maybe it’s because I’m bored or lethargic (see above). Or maybe everything just looks more tempting because the stores are lit up at night. It doesn’t have to make sense, it’s just something I’ve noticed. I just buy more stuff.
And since we all know my apartment can’t HANDLE more stuff, then I have to argue with merchants and make returns and dispute credit card charges, and it’s a whole thing. You’d think knowing about this peculiarity ahead of time would make me less inclined, but no.
Good ol’ Ben Franklin was one of the first proponents of instigating a seasonal time change in the interest of saving energy. Only problem is, it DOESN’T. In fact, the time change has the opposite effect.
Franklin figured that if there were more hours of daylight, people wouldn’t waste as many candles lighting their homes at night. Fast-forward a century or so, and the US government established a temporary DST to conserve electricity and fuel during World Wars I & II.
The reality, according to a 2008 National Bureau of Economic Research study, is that DST causes us to consume energy rather than conserve it. The study showed how daylight saving time actually increased residential electricity demand by an estimated 1%. Apparently, DST spiked demand for heating and cooling, too.
So the whole reason they allegedly invented DST in the first place not only isn’t valid, it counterproductive! This horrible thing they inflict on us to save energy actually wastes energy! I could write an entire BOOK about the level of irony there!
But I digress …