Thursday, March 13, 2014

My Brain on Daylight Saving Time

This blog post marks 52 weeks of writing about whatever strikes my fancy.  And yes, there have been weeks when I wondered, “What on earth will I write about this time?” Somehow it never fails, though, that I read something in the newspaper or hear a blurb on NPR and off I go.

Running through my brain this week are thoughts of the disorientation I experience when we “spring forward” each year.  I was caught totally unaware this weekend and didn’t realize the change was upon us until late Saturday evening when a friend mentioned it. Yes, we’ll have more daylight hours after dinner, which I enjoy, but it will take me the week to get over my “fuzzy brain syndrome.”

I didn’t catch the whole blurb, but the Weather Channel mentioned there are more heart attacks when the time changes, though the reason for the increase is unclear. Another fact reported by the Huffington Post is that “workplace and car accident deaths have been known to increase five to seven per cent in the three days following the start of daylight saving time.” This short-term negative seems to be offset by fewer accidents overall when daylight saving time is in effect. That impact is attributed to more driving occurring in daylight hours when driving is safer.

Our local paper reported that the state of Tennessee is considering staying on daylight saving time year round and never “falling back.” And a Google search indicated that Florida is considering the same. What’s Florida’s rationale?  Giving residents more daylight later into the evening and boosting the economy by encouraging tourists to stay out later. I’m betting that the hope for increased tourist dollars is the primary impetus. 

Someone once told me that she always took the week following our “spring forward” as a vacation week, so she could adjust more easily to the change.   That sounds like a grand plan, though I’ve never managed to try it myself.  

Since my thoughts ramble around, an image of my boss just popped into my mind. He lives on the West coast but works an East coast schedule. He’s at his desk at 5:30 AM PT on weekdays and claims to call it quits around 2:30 PM.  Like most of us, though, his workday has a flexible end, and he often works later. I’d have to be in bed by 8 PM to make that schedule work for me.  Just the thought of regularly getting up at 4:30 AM makes me shudder. At least the effect of “spring forward” is temporary. 

Much as I enjoy “falling back” and waking up early and refreshed for a few days, I’d gladly trade that sensation for never having to “spring ahead” again.  Meanwhile, please excuse me while I get another cup of coffee. 

PS.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I started this blog Sunday evening. Tuesday morning, I hopped in my car to go the gym and backed into my garage door. Yup, I’m blaming that on daylight savings time for sure! I felt somewhat better when the garage door salesman told me his techs see four door accidents a day. No real harm done; we’re getting two new steel, insulated doors to replace the 1981 era wooden ones, and my husband was able to buff out the scratches on my car.