Admittedly, I brought it all on myself.
I knew the time change was happening early this past Sunday morning at 2 a.m. – that awful annual ritual and unnecessary rite of spring known as the setting of the clocks forward 1 hour, losing an hour of sleep. Fall back, spring ahead. And so I stayed up ’til 1:30 in the morning, finishing up a song mix because I was just this close to having it done and I was going to get it done tonight. I did. It actually might have been closer to 2:00 when I came to bed.
The first noticeable effects of my late night in the studio were that I slept/stayed in bed until 8:30 (still thinking it was 7:30) which is something I never do. Our kitties, Maxx and Cosmo, were concerned. Getting up by 6:45 is pretty much the max limit for me on any day, every day, 365 days a year whether I’m going to work, whether it’s the weekend or I’m on vacation. Most of the time my attitude toward sleep is that of the late great Warren Zevon: “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” That morning I also didn’t meditate – something I do daily – and didn’t work out at the gym. Mostly I felt foggy, out of it.
Erin and I drank some wine later on in the afternoon and evening with dinner while we were watching a movie. At some point I bonked my left foot hard on the coffee table. It hurt like hell for a couple of minutes, then went away, and I didn’t think any more about it.
Monday morning, I woke up feeling even more foggy and out of it – went to work and felt strange all day. I felt even more strange after dinner so we took my blood pressure and saw that it was high. It hasn’t been high in months but then I’m also on blood pressure meds. I take another pill for it, we check the blood pressure a little later and it’s gone even higher. When it goes dangerously high about half-an-hour after that, I’m having some major-to-severe anxiety, I call the advice line at Kaiser as we’re having to consider a trip to the nearest Emergency Room. The nurse on the call tells me the doctor doesn’t think I have to go in. I schedule an appointment to see my doctor the next day.
By the time I get home Tuesday night, I’ve seen my doctor and she’s upped the dosage on my BP meds, for the time being; the toe is hurting even worse and in fact, turns out to be broken, and now everything in the immediate vicinity of the toe is starting to turn all sorts of colors in the red-purplish section of the color wheel. The toe itself is swollen, and this isn’t the little insignificant pinky toe we’re talking about here – this is the big toe… the “captain” of the toes (I will spare you the visuals lest it be the equivalent of somebody’s picture of what they’re having for dinner on Facebook – and hey, you need a food stylist for that to make it look good). We ice it down.
Erin and I are also supposed to go to Dallas this week for my Dad’s 88th birthday on Saturday. After the Monday night episode I make the call on Tuesday morning that we can’t go this week for the simple reason that we can’t be driving across West Texas where each small town that has a hospital is about an hour’s drive away from the previous one. If I have another pseudo-emergency with the BP or an actual real one… well, that won’t be good.
By Friday morning, blood pressure is fine, high normal range, but I’m hobbling around on a broken toe which in the end turns out to be the real/best reason for not going to Dallas this weekend – that, and Erin has been tired and exhausted all week, sleeping in late each morning, after the time change. We’ll go next month.
This was the week that wasn’t, much of it due to this stupid annual changeover to Daylight Saving Time. I had never had it affect me like this and I learned the hard way this time. The first thing I’ll say about it is this: if you’re going to stay up late going into the time change – don’t. Not recommended and certainly not worth it. Respect the time change… at least while it’s still in effect.
The second thing is: it doesn’t have to be in effect. Most people are accustomed to it, but why? This prompted some inquiry into DST, the history and why it came into being. This is something artificial that’s been imposed on all of us and it affects a lot of people each and every year.
This is a known, quantifiable phenomenon that has been observed over the years. This small time shift can significantly raise the risk of health-related issues. A 2016 study found that the overall rate for stroke was 8% higher in the two days after Daylight Saving Time. The Monday and Tuesday after DST in the spring have also been associated with a 10% increase in heart attacks, according to a 2012 study at the University of Alabama Birmingham.
So here’s what research turned up… A brief history of Daylight Saving Time:
- DST is used to save energy and make better use of daylight. It was first used in 1908 in Thunder Bay, Canada.
- Germany became the first country to introduce DST when clocks were turned ahead 1 hour on April 30, 1916. The rationale was to minimize the use of artificial lighting in order to save fuel for the war effort during World War I.
- Not to be outdone, “Fast Time” as it was called then, was first introduced in the U.S. in 1918 when President Woodrow Wilson signed it into law to support the war effort during World War I. The initiative was sparked by Robert Garland, a Pittsburgh industrialist who had encountered the idea in the UK. Today he is often called the “Father of Daylight Saving”. An industrialist, huh… well guess who this benefits?
- Year-round DST, also called “War Time”, was in force during World War II, from February 9, 1942, to September 30, 1945, in the US and Canada. Again with the war stuff… it’s always about war.
- From 1945 to 1966 there were no uniform rules for DST in the US and it caused widespread confusion especially for trains, buses, and the broadcasting industry. As a result, the Uniform Time Act of 1966 was established by Congress. It stated that DST would begin on the last Sunday of April and end on the last Sunday of October. However, states still had the ability to be exempt from DST by passing a state ordinance. And Hawaii, Arizona (most of the state), and parts of Indiana did just that.
- The US Congress extended DST to a period of ten months in 1974 and eight months in 1975, in hopes to save energy following the 1973 oil embargo. Remember the lines at the gas stations back then?
- The current schedule was introduced in 2007 and follows the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which extended the period by about one month (during Bush II). Today, DST starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.
- Daylight Saving Time is now in use in over 70 countries worldwide and affects over a billion people every year.
Questions that come to mind… DST saves energy, for whom? Who specifically benefits? And how much? What kind of energy are we saving here? Oil, coal? What are the costs to both workers and businesses in terms of down time due to health-related issues from the time change? Is DST best filed under the Nietzsche axiom that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?
Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never liked Daylight Saving Time and I agree with Hawaii and Arizona (and parts of Indiana) – we don’t need it anymore. As more and more of our energy moves away from fossil fuels and is supplied by renewable sources, it’s time for DST to be gone. Permanently. Natural is best.
GLAMOUR: A WORLD PROBLEM
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