Sunday, March 13, 2011

Look Out for That Clock!

Every year, twice a year, we go through the whole Daylight Savings Time thing. And every year, twice a year, we hear people complaining about "losing an hour of sleep" (or gaining it) and how the time change screws up their delicately balanced internal clock. Hogwash. Really. It's complete nonsense.

Major changes in your sleep cycle can certainly wreak havoc on you. This is what jet lag is. Ask anyone who's flown to Europe or Asia. Or Hawaii. Or even coast-to-coast. But when we change the clocks twice a year we're only talking about one hour. Just one hour. "Oh, MAB," I can hear you saying, "That's still a time change! It messed me up!" Yeah? Okay, here's a question for you. What time do you get up to go to work on a normal weekday? For some, it's 6:00. For some it's 7:00.

Okay, now what time do you get up on a normal weekend day? I guarantee you it isn't 6 or 7 for the vast majority. It's probably closer to 9 or 10. ("It's Saturday! I get to sleep in!") So, unless you go to bed and wake up at exactly the same time every day, you are screwing with your sleep cycle far more drastically than this measly hour that switches but twice a year. And you're doing it every week.

That messed-up feeling you're having is entirely in your head. It's fed, of course, by perceived wisdom and even our media. I've seen "reports" on local and even national news warning people to be careful when driving after time changes. 'Cause you're so messed up. You'll definitely be groggy. So thanks for feeding the nonsense, American media.

So you didn't "lose an hour of sleep" last night. You probably slept as much as you would have anyway. This is why they do this on a weekend, when you mess with your internal clock all the time anyway. You lost an hour of watching TV, or reading cranky blog posts.

I have nothing to say on the merits of Daylight Savings Time. I don't care one way or the other what time we all agree it is. We can argue over whether it's better to have it lighter in the morning or in the evening. Go to it. But the discussion and accompanying grief about "gaining" or "losing" sleep is just plain silly.

It's just an hour, people. Get over it.


Mrs. Chili said...

Dude. You need to write more, is what I'm sayin.

Care to engage in some conversations with me about economics? I'm trying to get my head around why a flat tax is a bad idea....

MAB said...

Are you really unsure of it? Because it is indeed a really really bad idea.

Mookie said...

I always find that the time change hits at the end of the day, not the feeling tired early or feeling wide awake at bedtime

Kizz said...

My gripe with the hour is about the light. I've had a sweet sweet week of walking the dog at 6am in the daylight and now WHAM I'll be back in the dark for a couple of weeks. Resent. Sure it'll be lighter at night but that was coming anyway.

For the record I did stupidly lose an hour of sleep. I forced myself to stay awake until 11:30 so I could get up at 7:30 to walk the dog and have him not be in distress. Didn't factor in that 10:30 was 11:30 so I could have just gone to bed then. Damn!

Re: Flat tax, correct me if I'm wrong but that would mean that the mega rich would be paying even less money and the middle class and poor would pay even more. Percentages take into account a sort of grading on a curve system so we all (in theory) pay in the same portion of our money so no one is being unduly burdened.

Cokehead said...

Basically what Kizz said. 20% of a minimum wage income is a fuckton more of a problem than 20% of someone that makes $500k/year.

That said, I think we should do it in some states, if only because it's politically feasible. In Michigan, the rich actually pay a smaller percentage of their income in taxes than the poor - making it so that the owner of the pistons literally pays less in taxes than a Wal-Mart employee. Shit you not.

Compared to that system, a flat tax would be superior.