Gaining an hour of sleep with DST

This weekend many of us in the United States (and the 70 other countries that have Daylight Saving Time) moved our clocks back an hour to enjoy an extra hour of sleep.

Yes, it was the end of Daylight Saving Time. (Note that is “Saving” and not “Savings” as it is often mispronounced.)

pocket watchWe rejoice when we gain that “extra” hour and whine when it is the spring and we “lose” an hour.

Now for those of you who don’t participate in Daylight Saving Time (or Summer Time for those of you abroad), this is a twice a year practice where we adjust our clocks in an order to conserve energy (though it hasn’t been proven to save energy in today’s world of technology) and increase active daylight hours.

If you want more information on DST, you can watch Katie Couric’s quick 3 minute video explaining Daylight Saving Time.

This whole time changing thing is hard for many adults to adjust to so just imagine what it does for your kids. While it is nice to think that you could have an “extra” hour of sleep, most young kids don’t go for that. They went to bed at their normal time (let’s say 9 p.m.) and woke up at their normal time (7 a.m.) except now it is an hour earlier (6 a.m.). They don’t understand why mom and dad still want to sleep longer.

Then in the evening, those same kids are wondering why they are tired when the clock clearly indicates they have an hour before bedtime.

In the spring, it is often the opposite problem.  I will have to wake the kids up at 7 a.m. but their bodies think it is just 6 a.m. And later in the day, they will protest going to bed because the clock may show it is bedtime but their bodies are still revving to go.

Of the two time changes, the one that seems harder to adjust to is the one in the Spring – or maybe that is just me.

Now I know there are those parents who try to slowly adjust their kids’ wake/bedtimes leading up to the change but that has never worked for us especially now that the kids can tell time. For that matter, we also have given up trying to slowly changing their wake times from summer (where they slept in) to school year wake times.  Yes, it makes for a couple hard days but they adjust.

Many people dislike DST. They don’t see the use of it. Maybe you have seen this saying on Facebook or elsewhere.

When told the reason for daylight saving time, the Old Indian said, “Only the Government would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket.”

But DST was never about giving you more sunshine. The sun shine the same amount of time regardless of what your clock says. But it is a matter of when it is light.

In October, I walked my kids to school in the dark. (School starts at 7:35 and sunrise was about 7:45.) But this week, it will be light when we walk to school as sunrise is at 6:50. And of the two, I would rather be in the light when walking them to school.