Springing ahead is an exhausting chore

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 7, 2008

Consider this a fair warning: tomorrow we will all lose an hour.

This sudden time loss will not be caused from mass abduction by aliens nor a time warp, rather it’s from a Spring rite we all call Daylight Saving Time or DST.

Yes, that annoying now pre-Spring rite where we set our clocks ahead will forge its way into our lives at approximately 2 a.m. (which will become 3 a.m.) on Sunday.

Oy vey.

For this troublesome occurrence we can thank William Willett, an Englishman, who while on a horse ride through the countryside in 1905 devised this much despised ritual.

‘Ol Will was also a golfer or as I call them: a man who hits a little white ball with a stick and chases it.

His reasoning behind DST was to encourage more outdoor leisure activity during the afternoon. Of course our reasoning now days is that it saves energy, however it depletes human energy.

Whatever the purpose behind DST, all I know is after Sunday I will be tired and my car clock will display the incorrect time because I have forgotten how set it.

People have tried to beat it with all kinds of solutions, but when it comes down to it no one seems to be able to tame the beast.

Against my better judgment, I’ve compiled a sampling of tips offer to beat those DST blues.

If you prefer a step-by-step program, eHow’s suggestions may fit your needs:

Step 1:

Change clocks on Saturday afternoon instead of Sunday. Reset all clocks in the house, including your wristwatch, microwave, computer if necessary, and especially your alarm clock. Reset the clock in your car as well.

Step 2:

Avoid looking at the clock and thinking that it’s really an hour later or earlier. Act as if this is the new time. Plan your day accordingly.

Step 3:

Change the clocks in the evening before you go to bed if resetting them in the afternoon is not an option. The object is to get used to the new time as soon as possible.

Step 4:

Get up at your normal time on Sunday. Set the alarm. Avoid sleeping an hour later or getting up an hour earlier.

Step 5:

Stay awake all day even if you are sleepy. Avoid taking a nap.

Step 6:

Go to bed at your normal bedtime on Sunday night. Drink a glass of milk, take a hot bath or drink a cup of chamomile tea to induce sleep if you’re not tired yet.

Step 7:

Rise at your regular time on Monday. By now you should be well-adjusted to the new time.

SleepBetter.org on the other hand just gives a few tips:

* Make sure you have a good pillow as using a supportive and clean pillow that is properly suited to individual sleep needs for getting the healthy sleep.

* Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol: Caffeinated beverages can create a “buzz” within the body, suppressing deep sleep. While alcohol may make you sleepy, it will not let you sleep deep. Try to avoid it this weekend. Cut out intake of these items within three hours of bedtime.

* Exercise: Regular exercise relieves tension, uses excess energy and helps the mind unwind after a hard day at work, allowing for restful, uninterrupted sleep.

* Make the bedroom a haven, not a workspace: A quiet, dark and cool bedroom is the perfect haven for sleep.

* Put work aside for two to three hours prior to sleeping, and remove distractions such as television, computers, video games and bright light. Consider a “Power Down Hour” using meditation and relaxation for 20 minutes before bed.

Whether or not these tips will work is yet to be known, but if it will help me adjust to DST then I’m willing to try it.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: amanda.vanderbroek@r-cnews.com or call (252) 332-7209.