Time change falls flat

Many of us will rejoice at the idea of getting that extra hour of sleep this Sunday, Nov. 4 as we make the annual “fall back”

Many of us will rejoice at the idea of getting that extra hour of sleep this Sunday, Nov. 4 as we make the annual “fall back” adjustment to our clocks.

Those people are not the parents of young children.

I get the reasoning behind the change. Daylight saving time decreases the duration of daylight we experience in the early morning hours and increases the amount of daylight available in the evening, when most of us are awake.

In Canada, it’s up to each province to decide whether to use daylight time, and not all do. Most — but not all — jurisdictions in Canada and the U.S. have been moving their clocks ahead by one hour on the second Sunday in March and back by one hour on the first Sunday in November.

Most of Saskatchewan has not observed daylight time since 1966 and stays on central standard time all year round. Some border towns follow the time schemes of their neighbours in Manitoba or Alberta.

Legislation in the United States in 2007 moved the start of daylight time three weeks earlier in the spring and the return to standard time a week later in the fall. Canada quickly followed suit, saying it was critical to remain at the same time as our neighbours to the south.

But this time change is essentially a massive experiment in jet lag, as your body clocks must reset to a time that’s one hour earlier than you’re used to

While the “fall back” might be a bit easier than the “spring forward” adjustment, messing with kids’ sleep schedules has never had good outcomes at our house. It’s pretty much a guarantee of a full dose of grumpy, liberally sprinkled with whining.

This is because, unlike with grown ups, spending an extra hour in repose simply doesn’t happen. At least with my kids, those internal alarm clocks are one of the most powerful forces in nature. To my oldest daughter, sleeping in means she’s woken at 6:05 a.m. instead of at the stroke of six. Add to this the fact that snuggling under the covers for an extra hour is not a pleasure, but just plain old boring to them and it’s a recipe for displeasure.

So slyly trying to convince her that even though her clock says 5 a.m., she needs to stay in bed until the clock says 6 a.m. (when her body knows this isn’t so) is a huge challenge in patience.

Then you face the evening horror show with two choices; you put them to bed when they are tired at their normal time, knowing that you will have the same battle with keeping them in bed  the next morning. Or, you can try to keep the tired eyes from closing until an hour later in the faint hope that this will help re-set their internal clock to sleep an hour longer. (Sorry to say, we’ve had limited success with both methods.)

So while many of you will enjoy pulling the covers over your head for an extra hour, give a moment’s pity to all the bleary-eyed moms and dads who curse the time change.


Salmon Arm Observer