By Shelley Murphy
It’s that time of year again, and the madness of March is sweeping the nation.
This month, we moved the clock forward and lost an hour of sleep. And, then there’s also the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) college basketball tournament stealing our time, too.
Last Sunday, the calendar commanded the tiresome task of setting the clock ahead one hour and springing forward to Daylight Saving Time. That hour is gone for good, but we’ll gain an hour in November with the return to Pacific Standard Time.
The time change in March is challenging, and often so is the correct spelling: it is Daylight Saving (not Savings) Time. A trick to remembering it’s saving, not savings, is associating losing the extra “s” with losing an hour of sleep.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) says it can take weeks for some people to adjust to the one-hour shift in their sleep schedule.
This week, I’m feeling the lost hour and am a bit fatigued, but I’m not as sleep-deprived as my younger son.
He and his buddies traveled to Las Vegas last Friday for an NCAA conference basketball tournament and a bit of gambling. Sunday morning, he awoke to the sting of losing an hour of sleep and his cash to a casino.
Every spring, we’re reminded of the negative impact of the twice-yearly time change.
Setting the clocks forward to Daylight Saving Time (DST) sacrifices 60 minutes of sleep, but studies show skipping that hour of slumber takes a toll on the body’s internal clock and causes serious side effects.
Researchers refer to the week after the springtime change as one of the most dangerous of the year. There is a significant rise in traffic accidents and fatalities, and a higher risk of strokes and hospital admissions.
A slew of studies supports the toll DST takes on our bodies. The circadian rhythm is the body’s 24-hour clock and disrupting it by even an hour can cause potential health consequences.
DST has been controversial since its introduction more than a century ago. In 1918, the U. S. adopted DST to help conserve energy during World War I, and then did so again in 1942 during WWII.
There is growing support to abolish the outdated practice of adjusting the clocks.
In 2018, Proposition 7 appeared on the ballot in the California General Election. The proposition would’ve allowed the California State Legislature to regulate DST.
The proposition passed with 60% of voters supporting the change, but that was only the first step in its passage. The proposition stalled, and it failed before reaching Congress.
Today, California lawmakers who are determined to put a stop to the clock foolery may have support for a new bill.
Instead of abolishing DST, like Proposition 7, the new bill, Assembly Bill 7, would implement permanent Standard Time year-round.
According to lawmakers, it might be easier to pass, as it requires passage by the State Legislature and bypasses Congressional red tape.
This new plan is progress, but there’s a catch. Passing the bill still requires a two-thirds consensus of the legislature.
A recent poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found 75% of Americans agree that it’s time to put an end to the seasonal resets in March and November.
Overwhelmingly, Californians agree they dislike changing clocks twice a year. So, what is the problem? Well, it’s shocking, but people are passionately divided over an early sunrise or late sunset.
I prefer returning to a permanent yearlong establishment of Standard Time. Hawaii hasn’t observed DST since 1945 (another reason it’s paradise). Arizona also opted out in 1944 (except for The Navajo Nation).
I think it’s common sense, in the 21st century, to stop tinkering with the clock.
It’s time to limit the madness of March to the basketball court—establishing a yearlong Standard Time is a slam dunk.
For more than 20 years, Shelley Murphy and her husband have lived in San Clemente, where she raised her two sons. She’s a freelance writer and has been a contributor to the San Clemente Times since 2006.