Abraham, Rachel, Soren and Liam. Our life together in Smalltown, Idaho.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

In favor of Not Changing Time

When Abe was on his mission in California, he received a letter from his mother that read,

Dear Abraham,

We are no longer observing Daylight Savings Time in our home.



(Okay okay, I'm sure there was more to the letter than that, but this is the part I know about.)

That was fifteen years ago, and she has stuck with it ever since. When we visit New Hampshire to visit Abe's parents, I'm in a constant state of time confusion because every time I look at a clock I have to calculate: "Okay, that clock is set on that o'clock Home Time, which means that World Time it is actually this time, so it must be this o'clock in Idaho. So that's why I want to stay up until 1:00 AM!"

When I first heard about Skousen Standard Time, I will admit to maybe doing one of those whistle/eye roll things one does when one hears a story about a particularly nutty person. I thought, Wow. Sounds like Abe's mom is rather, um, eccentric. And I will grant you: my mother-in-law is not the most conventional person in the world. But neither is she as unconventional as, say, the spiky-haired alpaca-wool spinning respiratory therapist at EIRMC who kept trying to sneak me off somewhere so I could breastfeed my baby against doctor's orders. Truly, my mother-in-law is really not all that nutty. Just independent. But not in a stock-up-your-sawed-off-guns-and-rant-about-the-gov'ment sort of way. She just does things the way she wants to and gives very little heed to what anyone might think about it. This is a way of being I aspire to.

ANYWAY, the reason I bring this up at all is that I just wanted to say that I totally take back the whole whistle/eye roll thing because I have come to believe with all my heart that refusing to change times twice a year is really, truly a sensible thing to do. I, too, would boycott time changes, but the fact that I interact so regularly with the outside world makes it impractical.

My numero uno complaint with the time changes is that they throw a massive cog into the wheels of our family's routine twice a year. Since switching back to Standard Time a few weeks ago, my children have been going to bed at 7:00 PM and waking up at 5:00 AM. That means I see them for 30 minutes after I get home from work at night and a full hour earlier than I want to see them in the morning. And because they are little creatures of Circadian habit, it will take us MONTHS of effort to settle them back into a normal 8 PM to 6 AM sleeping routine.

Also, my observation has been that the hour change in daily wake/sleep rhythms increases fatigue, grumpiness, and depression in pretty much everybody. In fact, the strain that the change puts on our bodies is so real that studies have demonstrated that there is a 5% increase in heart attacks following the switch from Standard Time to Daylight Savings Time.

All this would be okay if there were a point to the changes, but the fact is that there is really no benefit to changing times around constantly. Maybe once upon a time Daylight Savings Time was an energy saver, but I truly doubt that is the case in our fast-paced round-the-clock energy burning society.

So I ask: Why are we as a nation still doing changing the time twice a year? Is there anyone out there who enjoys the time changes? How do we put an end to them? Will a letter to our representative cut it? Do we need to lobby somewhere? Can we march on Washington?

Being one who enjoys the extra sunlight in the evenings, I personally would advocate for staying on Daylight Savings Time round-the-clock, but seriously? I would stick with Zimbabwean Standard Time if it just meant that we wouldn't have to change times ever, ever again. So I'm going to advocate for Not Changing Time. Will you join in my crusade? Who will be strong and stand with me?


Brandy said...

When I lived in Tucson we didn't have to change times. It was pretty neato. :o)

Lara said...

I kind of don't mind. For me, it's like this massive indication of "It's winter, time to hibernate" and I break out hot cocoa, fuzzy blankets, and books. And then I get the indication that says, "Let's celebrate! The sun is back!" I kind of feel like a druidic, wiccan, Mother Earth worshiper when we go on Daylight Savings in spring because I truly have celebrations when the sun comes back. :)

But yeah, if anything, let's stay on Daylight Savings Time all year round.

I have also heard that car accidents increase on the first day of Daylight Savings. Apparently losing an hour of sleep makes people doze behind the wheel.

Collette Smith said...

Count me in.

Bethany said...

I would definitely sign any petition that went around to rid the world of Daylight Savings.


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