A day without sunshine is like, you know, night. – Steve Martin
I don’t mean to sound whiny, but I miss the sunshine already! It’s not even winter yet – we have another month before winter even begins! Does the fall back time change affect anyone else like this? I’m not prone to be depressed, but the time change gives me the blues.
Every year I hear the same story – they’re going to discontinue the fall back time change and stay on daylight savings time. Blah blah blah… I’ve heard that every year – yet here we are – changing our clocks and trying to cope with the aftermath for weeks afterward! I’ll be honest – I’m getting older and this time change is not the piece of cake it used to be. Like most middle-aged people, I find change to be more difficult than ever before.
Reverting to standard time is generally thought to be less physically stressful than the clock springing-forward, since people get an extra hour to sleep that morning, research indicates that even a relatively small 60-minute time change can have effects on the body, health and even traffic safety. We know that the Monday morning after DST is in effect, there is a significant increase in traffic accidents – but the same is true when we fall back!
It all has to do with the body’s circadian rhythm. Obviously our sleep patterns are messed up – granted, it’s only an hour, but it really messes with older people – trust me!
Do you get more hungry for comfort food after the fall back time change? Well, I’ll be the first to admit – I do! I could easily eat an entire Knolla’s pizza all by myself! I can’t explain it except to say when it is dark outside and there’s a little chill in the air, I just want to snuggle in and hibernate – and eat pizza! It’s sad to admit that my ambition does not extend beyond that scenario, but it is what it is I suppose. I want to go on the record though – it’s not the holiday season that makes us gain weight – it’s this stupid change back to standard time! I don’t indulge in a big holiday feast with lots of people – but when the time changes I can lose control in the quiet of my house. It’s not Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas that keep me tipping the scales.
There is a 7% increase in traffic accidents the week after DST comes to an end, according to a study done by Texas A&M University. It’s like having jet lag – performance is diminished and cognitive abilities decrease because we’re groggy. Our rhythms aren’t adjusted to the change and that means we will make mistakes. It’s roughly the same statistic for the week of DST – so whether we are falling back or springing ahead – the change is reflected in an increase in traffic accidents. Those statistics alone should be sufficient evidence that this time changing is not a good idea!
Since it’s dark by the time we get off work, we have to adjust to driving home in the dark, which may be to blame for more accidents in the evening. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warns, it may take some time to adjust to low-light driving when you are used to commuting home in broad daylight.
I hope that one day the powers that be decide that this time change takes too much of a toll on people – and END IT! Those of us who are older and have become creatures of habit and set in our ways would surely appreciate it! 🙂