My “get up and go” has apparently “gone up and went.” More than two weeks into daylight saving time, I’m still struggling to adjust my internal clock.
I started with a pretty significant sleep debt.
A 2013 Gallup poll reported Americans get an average of 6.8 hours of sleep a night. Lack of sleep can increase your chance of developing health problems, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity.
In the short term, it also affects mood, hand-eye coordination and memory.
It also makes me a Grumpy Gus.
Hopefully, I will soon adjust. Then, I can enjoy all that daylight saving time brings — like more daylight and more opportunity to be outside. I always feel my most productive in these spring and summer months.
You’d think I’d be over the moon with a proposal in the Tennessee General Assembly to set our clocks to daylight saving time and forget it. However, I’ve got my concerns about the state going it alone on this matter.
Lawmakers from East Tennessee apparently agree.
State Sen. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol, told the Bristol Herald Courier he wanted the change made at the federal level.
“From Virginia to Western North Carolina, you’d have different time zones, which would affect Bristol and Mountain City, and it would be very confusing from employment to education,” he said.
Tennessee is one of a handful of states that includes multiple time zones. With Cumberland County the easternmost county in Central time, most of us are accustomed to making the “fast time-slow time” calculations in our heads if we have appointments to the east.
Of course, Kentucky and Georgia aren’t too far away. All of Georgia is in Eastern Time while Kentucky is split, as well.
While we’re currently accustomed to figuring the time changes for two time zones, if Tennessee were to stay on daylight saving time year-round, we’d suddenly have four time zones to work with.
OK, stay with me here, because it gets complicated.
While everything would be like it is now during daylight saving time, East Tennessee would jump an hour ahead of Georgia and eastern Kentucky during Standard Time. Suddenly, those of us in Central time would be an hour ahead of western Kentucky and on the same time as North Carolina.
Then, when the time change rolled around in the spring, we’d go back to normal.
Would cellphone companies recognize Tennessee’s action and make sure our clocks kept up? Would we need to get special clocks that tracked time in multiple time zones? Would my head explode determining what time I had to be in Somerset, KY?
So many questions remain.
Rep. Rick Tillis, R-Lewisburg, proposed the same bill in 2017 and 2018, and it failed in committee both times. He has said he will add an amendment that delays enacting the legislations until the surrounding eight states sign on to abandoning the time change.
“This is a practice that has been in place for over 100 years, and it serves no purpose at all,” Tillis told the Bristol newspaper. “What I’m hoping is that we can create a domino effect in the country to where the federal government does away with the practice of changing the clocks twice a year.”
How’d we get stuck in this barbaric annual tradition, anyway?
Summer typically has more hours of daylight than winter, with the shortest period of daylight occurring Dec. 20, the winter solstice. The longest daylight day is June 20, the summer solstice.
Daylight saving time shifts the daylight from the morning to evening, allowing us more time after work or school to enjoy the sunshine — especially considering how dreary the winter has been.
Germany was the first country to enact daylight saving time in 1916 as an effort to conserve electricity.
The United States followed suit in 1918 as a wartime measure. Farmers actually didn’t like the practice, The History Channel says. In fact, national daylight saving time was repealed in 1919 and didn’t return until 1942.
The Uniform Time Act of 1966 established the dates for daylight saving time, though the act allows states to opt out. In 2007, Congress extended daylight saving time by about five weeks. Arizona, Hawaii and Puerto Rico opt out and stay on Standard time, as do the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Guam.
I don’t really want to stay on Standard time because I do enjoy having some daylight when I get out of meetings. But I don’t want the headache that comes with figuring out four different time zones within an hour’s drive. I’d really like the rest of the country to get on board with ditching Standard time. I’d support that in the blink of an eye.
Until then, I’ll keep trying to catch up on my Zzzz’s and finish this year’s time change transition. My internal clock has got to catch up soon!
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Heather Mullinix is editor of the Crossville Chronicle. Her column is published on Tuesdays. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.