It was a battle of epic proportions.
“The UnXplained” was captivating, and I was fighting fiercely to stay awake as the show progressed. But sheer fatigue was winning out, and finally overcame me.
That’s not surprising, as it was approaching the very late hour of 8:30 p.m. When I came to about a half hour later Diane was watching a holiday baking show, and I was thankful “The UnXplained” was recorded so I can watch it another time.
The culprit here was not so much the time or my age, or even that I had reclined on the love seat, but rather the body- and mind-boggling effects of the time change. This was of course the fall version of that vicious twice-yearly clock changing cycle that I dread.
On the face of it the switch seems so simple. It’s only an hour, after all, and shouldn’t we all easily adjust?
For my biorhythm it is anything but simple. Each fall the switch leaves my sleep cycle disrupted. I either fall asleep long before my bedtime, leaving me wide awake in the middle of the night, or I stay awake too long and then sleep in too late and find myself behind the eight ball all day. Usually I have an idea what time it is when I wake up, even before I look at the clock, but for now I have no clue of the time, and darkness seems to descend on what should still be the middle of the afternoon.
I am far from alone in this mental fog. I heard two news commentators sharing their own difficulties, one who found herself in the woods as darkness fell because she miscalculated the new sunset, and the other was battling unusual periods of fatigue throughout the day.
According to the Sleep Foundation, studies show a clear association between the time change and spikes in heart attacks, strokes, emergency room visits, traffic accidents and significant mood disturbances, and that the resulting lack of sleep impairs thinking and decision-making and hurts productivity.
In fact, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine supports eliminating seasonal time changes and adopting permanent standard time for improved public health and safety. The academy maintains that standard time more closely aligns with the body’s internal clock. The AASM and supporting organizations representing health, safety, and education are advocating for permanent standard time legislation.
The academy maintains that more than half of Americans say they are tired after the time changes, and that 63 percent of Americans support eliminating the time changes and instead maintain a national fixed year-round time.
Count me among the 63 percent opposing the time change, and consider me a supporter of legislation ending Daylight Savings Time altogether.
Not that I don’t enjoy an extra hour of daylight during the summer, but the extended darkness during the spring and fall mornings and the twice-a-year disruptions to my circadian rhythm is simply too high a cost for those bonus rays.
Quite frankly, sometimes it takes me a couple of weeks to fully recover from the clock adjustments, especially in the spring when we lose an hour of sleep.
Bit by bit I will regain my ability to stay awake past 8:30 p.m., and will be able to watch evening television shows. And come January I will revel in the earlier and earlier sunrises, and later and later sunsets, until early March arrives and we must endure the cycle I have come to call Fake Time all over again.
Don Allison is an author, historian and retired editor of The Bryan Times. He can be reached at www.fadedbanner.com.