On March 11, as the clocks rushed forward, Americans had an hour of sleep taken away; certainly, we can say we offered this hour up, but the way I saw friends and colleagues functioning during the following week suggests that something has been taken away—conversations in elevators and at water coolers have changed from “it’s really nice outside” to “I am exhausted and it’s not even lunch.” It’s easy to shrug this off and say “we’ve all experienced jet lag” and “I slept an extra hour extra on Sunday,” but there is something that happens to the body with this hour’s difference that lasts well beyond an hour. I was eager to find more out and, to be candid, flummoxed as to why I hadn’t been more curious in the past, as to own and thus redistribute knowledge on this subject.
In conducting some general research I came across articles from sources like livescience.com and other cosmos-oriented hubs that delve into sleep deprivation, in regards to the universe. When we enter daylight saving time we are working more with the extra light we are given each day, tilting with the earth’s axis to maximize our waking hours, spun more widely by the sun. But what many studies have shown is that our circadian rhythms never adjust to this small shift in the day. Some studies reveal that it takes up to eight weeks and others even say that we never adjust. As I look back on previous daylight saving time’s I recall how one excuse for the sudden drowsiness many endure is that it’s allergy season and that lethargy is springing in the buds of begonias and hyacinths; yet allergy season seems to be a yearlong thing these days, so I’m leaning toward placing blame on our circadian rhythms.
Another fascinating study I researched speaks explicitly of the difference between being an owl or a lark. The owl is, as suspected, the “night owl” we all know or even are, those who can stay up and choose to stay up quite late. The lark, on the other hand, is up early and thus tires earlier in the day. After some studies were done many scientists concluded that the affect daylight saving time has on us depends solely on whether we are owls or larks. For myself, I know that I’m mostly a lark and so being more exhausted after the change on March 11 makes less sense than if I was an owl. When the clocks roll back in November the opposite applies and larks becomes more tired. However, what if you’re both an owl and a lark (a wark. . . a lowl. . .)? I can speak of a few friends who fit this category and aren’t fazed by the change, yet they are either always deprived of sleep or just remarkable machines, challenging the earth’s axis each day.
When it comes to shifts in time, even shifts in the phases of the moon, it’s always invigorating to do a little research and strike up interest by engaging others' opinions about these topics. I think I’ve heard more requests for naps in the last few days than I have in the last six months; and we can blame ourselves—owls and larks, or circadian rhythm, or allergies, but the point is that there are many variables and they’re all up for more in-depth study and jovial gesticulation. I know that the full moon, for myself and for many friends, is always a topic of interest, that bulbous and distant phenomenon that’s easy to place blame on when things (moods, world events) start to get kooky, off-kilter or straight up bonkers. At least now there are a few more reasons as to why some of us feel the need for caffeine around lunch this time of year. After all, it’s good to have a break from talking about the weather, even with something as seemingly as banal as sleep.