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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Daylight Saving Time

Every six months I undergo an excruciating task. Trying to figure out how Daylight Saving Time or its end will change my everyday life. Now, I think I'm a pretty smart guy. I've got a couple of degrees, and my job takes some higher level thinking, but I cannot seem to wrap my mind around this.

I spent some time thinking about it this morning, and I've finally got it nailed down. The amount of sleep you gain or lose has nothing to do with the time of year. It all depends on whether you have young children. Allow me:

Scenario 1, No Kids: So, you're lying in bed, you see the sun is up, and you look at your clock. The clock reads 7am when it would normally read 8am. You roll over and sleep another hour. So, you gain an hour of sleep. Good for you.

Scenario 2, Kids:  To make sure you don't forget, you turn your clocks from 6pm to 5pm on Saturday. Unfortunately, you believed the hype; extra sleep! So you live it up. At 9pm, your normal bedtime on Saturday night, you see the clock reads 8pm (because you have turned it back already). So you watch 4 episodes of House Hunters International instead of 2. Since you recorded it, that keeps you up an extra 44 minutes. Now the clock reads 8:44pm, so you say to yourself, "Self, I'm going to read. I never have time to read, and tonight, I have an extra hour." So, after an hour and 16 minutes of reading, the clock says 10pm.  In actuality, it's 11pm, and you are now two hours behind.

I'll be generous and say your kids get up at 6:30am on the weekends. Well, what time will the clock read when their internal 6:30 clock wakes them up? That's right, 5:30 am.  You've lost another hour.

2 hours lost before bed plus 1 hour lost in the morning minus the hour you gained gives you a net loss of 2 hours.  

Get some sleep this weekend. You'll need it.

Thanks a lot, Ben Franklin.

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