Sunday's time change 'not a big deal for most people'
Published: Friday, March 8, 2013 at 6:32 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, March 8, 2013 at 6:32 p.m.
John Vetrano of Santa won't be bothered by losing an hour of sleep when time “springs forward” at 2 a.m. Sunday.
“I'm retired and it really doesn't matter,” Vetrano said. “My cat wakes me up to be fed every day, and it's going to be an hour earlier.”
Nor are the lost 60 minutes an issue for Debra Tsouprake, who said she typically stays up until 3 a.m. studying for her music classes at Santa Rosa Junior College.
Long summer days, on the other hand, provide more time for riding her bicycle around Santa Rosa.
“I love 'em,” Tsouprake said.
But there's controversy attending to the springtime shift to daylight saving time that critics say has lost its economic relevance and may also cause “clock shock” sluggishness come Monday morning's return to school and work on insufficient sleep.
An online survey by Sleepy's, a mattress retailer, found nearly 70 percent of Americans want the time change moved to 2 a.m. Saturday, affording an added day of acclimation.
Sleep educator Nancy Rothstein, a Sleepy's consultant, said the switch imposes “an unnatural tweak to our internal clock” that's no good for people who already struggle to snooze.
But only 74 people had signed by Friday an online petition urging the Department of Transportation to move the start of daylight saving time to Saturday.
“I wish they would just leave the time alone period!” a California woman commented on the petition. “Why is it that someone always has to have control of everything?”
The National Road Safety Foundation warned drivers to be “extra cautious” in the early days of DST because of increased risk of drowsiness behind the wheel.
Dr. Richard Steele, a Santa Rosa sleep specialist, downplayed the impact of an hour less shuteye.
“Not a big deal for most people,” he said.
The brain and body can adjust to a time change of one hour per day, he said. The disorienting impact of jet lag sets in when people cross multiple time zones on a coast-to-coast or trans-ocean flight, he said.
One of the original rationales for daylight saving time — energy conservation — no longer applies, some experts say. People do indeed turn on lights later, but they switch on air-conditioning earlier, two UC Santa Barbara researchers said in 2008.
In any event, Sunday morning's time loss is a limited global experience. Only eight other nations, including Canada and Cuba, spring forward Sunday morning.
Most nations that observe DST start it between March 29 and 31, and about 160 countries — along with Arizona, Hawaii and a bit of Alaska — don't switch time at all.
(You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 521-5457 or email@example.com.)
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