It’s fall, y’all! That magical time of year where the humidity goes back to a tolerable level. When scarves, chunky sweaters, and boots go back into closet rotation. Time for pumpkin spice everything! And of course, time to fall back an hour with the end of Daylight Savings time.
On Sunday, we will "fall back" an hour, signaling the end of Daylight Savings Time. In the past, I’ve been team DST all the way. In theory, I can totally get behind an extra hour of sleep. And then I started to think, it’s not an extra hour at all, it’s an hour of sleep DST borrowed last spring that they are finally giving back.
DST is a sleep tease. It's a jerk.
Next March, DST will spring forward and swipe another hour away and mess up my kid’s sleep schedule. Again. Which messes up my sleep. Not cool, you jerk.
Why is Daylight Savings Time a jerk? Please, allow me to enlighten you...
• The adjustment to a new sleep schedule twice a year for a child who does not sleep well to begin with is not worth the extra hour of promised sleep. This also applies to grown-ups like me if you need at least 8 hours of sleep to perform at a basic level adulting.
• The aforementioned extra hour of sleep promised only applies if your kid is not going to still wake up no matter what at 5:00 am.
• Trying to explain to your kid it’s bedtime when it’s still sunny outside.
• Ben Franklin proposed a version of DST to Parisians when he was in an envoy to France. While Ben had some great ideas, let’s not forget he also thought our nation’s bird should be a turkey and thought it would be a good idea to fly a kite in a lightning storm.
• Modern Day DST was proposed by George Vernon Hudson, an astronomer from New Zealand with an entomology hobby who decided it would be nice to have more daylight hours to look for bugs. Bugs.
• Studies have shown changing a person’s sleep pattern can have negative effects on health, mood, and well being. There is a significant increase in heart attacks and car accidents after a spring DST change. While the opposite is true with a fall change, there is still a learning curve for driving home from work in the dark at 5:00. Just throwing that out there.
• I still don’t know how to change the clock in my car. Seriously, can someone please tell me how to do this? Every six months it's a struggle.
• The idea of conserving energy by DST keeping the days lighter longer is a bit of a hollow promise. Some studies have shown a slight reduction in household electricity use, but on average there is a 1 to 4% increase in overall household energy consumption. That extra hour of sunlight is great for BBQ or an impromptu evening out. But we are using gas and/or charcoal for the grill and our cars to get to the restaurant, the park, or Target (sidenote: my standards for an evening out have changed over the years).
I believe there are some benefits to Daylight Savings Time. I love the longer days and bonus sunlight hours to take my daughter to the playground or play outside after dinner. DST dates serve as a great reminder to test and/or change the batteries in your smoke detectors. I do feel a bit more productive on a fall back weekend, that I have an “extra” hour to accomplish some things.
But let's be real. If we’re going to flip flop back and forth, I just think it would be really great if DST can show up next March with a gift basket of chocolate, lavender-scented sleep masks, good eye cream, and lots of coffee.