Like most parents out there, today started out a bit earlier than usual for me as my three boys don’t quite get the concept of daylight savings time and the subsequent “extra hour of sleep” that’s supposed to accompany it. Not really surprising since they are still conditioned to a normal sleep pattern so when the sun rises it’s time to get up no matter what the newly fallen back clock says.
Honestly, it’s a good thing in my book because I’m not a big fan of Daylight Saving Time and think it’s an outdated practice that messes with more than it fixes. Circadian rhythms are one of our most powerful anchors to the natural world and interfering with them is usually a bad idea. The last 7 months have altered our natural experience a bit and the abrupt change last night, although bringing us back to normal, can have a decent impact on those daily rhythms. This can be bad news for many people while adjusting to different light experience both morning and night.
How can we counteract this circadian version of government interference? By embracing this time shift for what it is (a return to normal time) and what it can be (a springboard into good sleep hygiene in the winter months).
On a basic level, time is a pretty abstract concept and all that really matters is the daily rhythm of the sun. Because of this we can use the sun to reanchor ourselves much quicker. By letting yourself see the sun rise and set you can start readjusting your brain to normal time. It shouldn’t take long particularly if you are consistent for a couple days in a row.
Don’t be surprised when you feel tired at 8 or 9 o’clock now, it’s normal. You should be tired because if you’re living in the northern hemisphere the sun is going to be setting earlier and earlier the next month and a half and (if working properly) your brain and body should be winding down by 8 or 9pm. This is a natural human experience and as we transition into winter it’s a smart practice to start going to bed a little earlier. Hopefully you’ve been enjoying late nights in the summer and fall and have prepared your body to take advantage of the long nights ahead. Going to bed early isn’t a bad thing, it’s a normal thing. The longer you stay up past sunset the more you miss out on crucial downtime and the restorative premidnight sleep. Winter is our opportunity to catch up on rest- take advantage of it and your body and mind will thank you.
I’m not alone in my preference against the time shift as every year several people voice their displeasure at Daylight Saving Time. Here are a couple I came across this year that I found to be good reads…
Daylight Saving Time Is America’s Greatest Shame
Here’s to getting our time back to normal and taking advantage of the nice winter days and nights coming up.
Thanks for reading, have a great day!
P.S. Like the wise man at the top of the page said, we don’t actually lose any daylight when daylight saving time ends. The sun still rises and sets no matter when a bunch of countries decide the sunrise should be.