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Beth Underwood: Falling back isn’t so bad, but this springing forward has me a little worn out

I love getting up early. There’s something magical about operating before the rest of the world is stirring. My creativity is high, my stress is low, and the coffee pot is my best friend.

Except lately I’ve been out of sorts, thanks to the biannual time change. Don’t get me wrong — I don’t mind the Fall back, or the extra hour of sleep it so graciously gives us. But when we spring forward to Daylight Saving Time (DST), my early morning routine is thrown off further than all the clocks in North America. For the record, on DST’s 100th year of existence, I’m here to say enough is enough.

Here’s why.

Less than three weeks ago, I was ready to rise before daybreak. But since that 2 a.m. time thief hit on March 4, I’ve reverted to setting my alarm just in case. Because for the past couple of weeks, my normal wake up time of roughly 5:45 a.m. has come and gone and I’ve snoozed right through it. Even at 7 a.m., I’m still in denial, with body and mind insisting it can’t be any later than 4:15.

How is it that skipping over one measly little hour — 60 short minutes — can wreak such havoc? And why must we endure it?

It’s not that I don’t enjoy the longer days, but they were getting longer all by themselves without the massively disruptive shift. As long as we’re being honest, isn’t having daylight until 8:30 or 9 p.m. enough? Do we really need sun at 10 p.m.?

Plus which, where does that skipped DST hour go? Is this how Mr. Sandman operates? On stolen hours? Does he take some sort of pleasure in watching half the world stumble around in a sleep-deprived stupor? Fair questions, I think.

Sleep deprivation is only one of the side effects of DST, though. More than a few researchers have found the spring forward causes a momentary uptick in heart attacks, strokes, traffic accidents, workplace injuries — even depression. Clearly, I’m not the only one who sees a problem with this spring ritual, and since the research is on my side, I’m going to run with it.

Moreover, some researchers say it can take up to three weeks to recover from all that springing forward. Which would explain a lot, wouldn’t it? Based on that research, I’ve got a couple more days until I’m feeling like myself again. Then we’ll have seven months of normalcy before we once again ditch DST, drop back to Standard Time, and start this whole time change craziness again. At that point, though, we’ll be gaining time instead of losing it — and you’ll hear no arguments from me.

Beth Underwood is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines. She shares stories of everyday life that entertain, inspire, and encourage others. Her books include Gravity, a narrative nonfiction account of a small group of Tennessee National Guardsmen, and Talk Bourbon to Me, a lighthearted look at Kentucky’s native spirit. Drop her a line at beth@bethwrightunderwood.com, or visit her website at bethwrightunderwood.com.

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