Can Daylight Savings Time Cure The Blahs?

Mar 07

dreamstime_xs_23322766 Let There Be Light!

Seems like everyone I know has a bad case of the blahs this winter, even though here in the East it hasn’t been much of a winter. If you had to give it a grade, it would be a D-. I mean, a few measly flakes of snow, and hardly any days below freezing. You call this a winter in  New York City?

Sounds good, actually though, doesn’t it? We complain about winter every winter, and who doesn’t like a nice Spring day in February? So maybe we should change the grade to B+, or Be Positive.

And yet. Could this non-winter actually be the cause of our collective depression? Maybe we secretly yearn for arctic winds and slushy snow. Here in NYC, the snow fall is so beautiful at first, covering up a multiude of sins and making Manhattan feel. . . clean.  For about ten minutes. Until that ugly black lacy stuff appears on top of the piles, making you realize that there’s still plenty of pollution in the air. And that you’re breathing it. After that, the sidewalks ice up and it’s worth your life to get to the corner saloon.

Could we possibly miss all that?

Doesn’t seem likely. Then why are so many of us complaining about low energy, lethargy, malaise? We’re not sick — according to our doctors, but what do they know — but we just don’t feel . . . right.

Well, cheer up my little chickadees, mild winter or not, what you’re suffering from is very likely something specific —seasonal affective disorder, also known (appropriately enough) as SAD. This condition is  recognized by no less an authority than the Mayo Clinic, which informs us that lack of light in the fall and winter seasons can sap your energy and make you feel moody. It’s so nice to put an official, and oh so poignant, name on what you’ve been describing as feeling like crap. Anyway,  the good news is there’s a cure for SAD, which is free, imminent, and inevitable:


And it starts this very weekend. So before you consider defenestration, that is, jumping out of a window, where at the moment there’s no snow to cushion your fall . . . .

. . . Simply set your clock ahead on Saturday night. (“Spring forward, Fall back,” boys and girls.) And beginning on Sunday, you’ll get another whole hour of sunlight each and every day.  Besides, when DST starts, Spring is just around the corner, and that means that Summer isn’t that far off either.

But before you get all overjoyed about all this news and cancel your appointment with your shrink, consider this:


Why can’t we have more sunlight all the time? Okay, I know, I know, the days are naturally longer in the summer and shorter in the winter. (I hope that wasn’t too scientific for you.) But why do we artificially impose DST rather than keep our clocks the same all year round?

I always thought it had something to do with farmers, but after a little research online, I found out that many farmers don’t like this system because they’re inconvenienced by having to change their schedule when they’re selling their crops. In fact, lots of people don’t like it, and it’s been controversial ever since Ben Franklin thought it up in1784. The man had a lot of good ideas, but this was not one of them.

To be fair, there are those who support this system, probably the manufacturers of light bulbs, but this is my blog and I don’t have to be fair. I like a lot of light.

The U.S. didn’t adapt DST until 1916: something to do with the Great War.  Britain started it too, along with a lot of other countries. As of now, most parts of North America have it, some of South America does, most of Africa and Asia doesn’t. So who’s right? Who cares. Let’s abolish the damn thing.

Every year, someone comes up with a plan to do just that, but it never gets anywhere. My first thought was that we all should march on Washington with a slogan:


My second thought was to recognize the idiocy of the first  thought because as we all know, our Congress never gets anything done.

But wait a minute. What about the Internet? Facebook? Hey, it worked for Betty White.
She might even join us in the movement. What fun! And apparently, we’ve all been fun-(as well as sun-) deprived during this long, not-that-cold winter.

dreamstime_xs_13231772Meanwhile, in just a few days, we get to change our clocks. The smart ones do it automatically, but I still have a few dumb ones lying around.

Okay, you lose an hour’s sleep — for one night. But you gain sunlight for months and months. Let’s face it, Daylight Savings Time is our best hope for chasing the blahs away.

It can’t happen soon enough for me.


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