A week or two ago, I called someone who lives in Europe.
“Are you about ready for dinner?” – I asked.
“Dinner? Dinner is long gone. Can’t you count the hours between us?” – I heard in reply.
I was under the impression that they had already changed their clocks due to the end of daylight saving. My presumption was incorrect. They only changed their time yesterday. If you are in Europe, you “gained an hour” while you were asleep on Sunday. If you live in Canada or the USA, your time will change this coming Sunday. Some parts of Mexico will also follow that rule. Aussies have already changed their clocks earlier in the month.
DST (Daylight Saving Time) is the use of changing time to make the most out of natural daylight. Have you ever heard: “Spring forward, fall back”? It is a fabulous way to remember when we need to change the time from 3am to 2am and when to change it from 2am to 3am. Since it is fall, we will be changing the time from 3am on Sunday to 2am and “gaining” an hour of sleep. For our Aussie friends, it is now spring, so they begin their daylight saving, changing the time from 3am to 2am, and sleeping an hour “less.”
What is interesting is that it is not always about adding or subtracting an hour. An Australian island only adds or deducts half an hour. Adjusting in 20 or 40-minute increments is not unheard of.
As a kid, I HATED daylight saving in spring and LOVED it when it ended in the fall because of all the “losing” and “gaining” of sleep. However, as an adult, I have to admit that it is more of a hassle than it is worth.
In April of this year, Brazil decided to do away with all of the daylight saving nonsense, and they will not be changing their times this year at all. The law is not permanent yet, and it reserves the right to revert back, should the trial run not work as expected. Lawmakers have tried to abolish DST in Europe and the US, but it is yet to become a reality. Less than half of the world’s countries follow DST. (To see a full list of countries and their DST stance, visit TimeAndDate.com.
Did you know that DST is more than 100 years old? Germany, in 1916, has become the first country to change their clocks. However, a town in Canada pioneered DST in 1908. Even though the practice did not start until the 20th century, the concept was first thought of in 1784 by Benjamin Franklin.
As a blogger, you probably wonder why some people go viral and gain a lot more Likes and comments than you. You write about the same thing, have the same opinion, and maybe write it in a better way, and yet you remain unknown. I have been there. This phenomenon applies to the story of DST. Benjamin Franklin suggested that France save on candle usage by getting their people out of bed earlier in the mornings. People took it as a joke. Then, in 1895, a scientist from New Zealand suggested a 2-hour change twice a year, but not many paid attention. Ten years later, a builder from Britain suggested changing the time weekly in April and then again in September. The change was supposed to be 20 minutes x 4. Someone finally noticed that idea, but it was never implemented into use.
Yes, ancient civilizations also dabbled in their own version of daylight saving, by adjusting their solar time. (You can read more on the topic of calendar adjustments in my post “HW: #WednesdayWisdom – Time is running out, so do not stand still.“) It is essential to know that what ultimately started this trend of DST was the need to save on fuel used for artificial lighting during the war. Fuel was needed for more useful, war-related things.
There is plenty of conflicting research on the advantages and disadvantages of DST. However, if you are like me, you associate this time of year with feeling SAD. I have to admit that whoever came up with this acronym was a genius. SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. It is a disorder I have not known about for a better part of my life. When I learned about it, finally, things made sense.
Do you ever have the “winter blues”? Are you in a funk more often during fall and winter? You might be suffering from SAD, which “is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons.” The shorter daylight hours and the lack of sunlight can lead to an imbalance in your brain. Our internal clock and circadian rhythms can become out of whack when seasons change. Our system is even more confused when we try to manipulate it with things like DST. The further you live from the Equator, the higher the chances of you developing SAD.
I am not a licensed professional, so I cannot diagnose anyone with this disorder, but you might have to look more into it if you experience:
- “Feeling of sadness or depressed mood
- Marked loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite; usually eating more, craving carbohydrates
- Change in sleep; usually sleeping too much
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue despite increased sleep hours
- Increase in restless activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Trouble concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide or attempts at suicide.”
Aside from medication and psychotherapy, there are other ways to potentially alleviate these symptoms. A big one is phototherapy. You sit in front of a lightbox for a specific period of time every day. It is to emulate sunlight and helps you produce serotonin, which should help balance your mood.
What do I do? First of all, I moved to a place where the weather is much nicer than what I am used to. Yes, I still hate waking up when it is dark. Yes, I still hate leaving work when it is already getting dark. But it is much easier to deal with that when you see the sun during the day. This, contrasted with all the overcast days I have been exposed to for decades, seems like heaven. Going outside during my work breaks is very helpful in maintaining my equilibrium. If you cannot move, think about taking a trip to a place where the sun shines a bit more.
If you cannot afford a vacation in the tropics, think about doing something that will make you feel good. We all know that physical activity can help with that. A proper diet can also help. SAD’s staple is carbs. Balance it out with fruits and veggies to feel less sluggish. Vitamin D supplements are also recommended.
A fellow blogger wrote about how she deals with SAD quite recently, and you can read about it –> HERE <–.
Has time been changed in your country already?
What do you think of daylight saving?
Are you from a place where DST is not observed?
Is your mental health ever affected by the weather (sunny vs. overcast)?
Do you experience SAD?
Do you have any secrets for dealing with SAD?
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