The Unexpected Benefit of the Time Change
I made the most that I could with the extra hour in the morning.
I dread the semi-annual changing of the clocks for the start and end of Daylight Savings Time. You wouldn’t think that a single hour change would be a big deal but it is. My kids are usually a disaster for at least a week, and I find that it takes awhile for my own body to adjust, resulting in odd sleep patterns and being exhausted as a result.
However, this year was a bit different. I had found a routine that I loved where I would wake early each morning, sometimes at 5:30 am or earlier, and enjoy the peaceful quiet of the house. I would make my coffee, write in my journal, catch up on reading, and make a list of what I wanted to get done that day.
My 7-year-old would usually appear around 6:00, but he was not much of a distraction — getting himself toast or a glass of milk — occasionally engaging in conversation, but not so much that I couldn’t continue to capture that time for myself.
As the days drew further into the cold months, I found that I would no longer wake as early. I finally reached the point where that “time to myself” had nearly disappeared. I considered setting an alarm, but I loathe using an alarm clock. I have had the mentality that if I am still sleeping, then my body is telling me something and I need to follow that rhythm. But something about the changing season had moved my body into more of a “hibernation” mode.
The end of Daylight Savings time at the beginning of November changed that. With the “fall back” of one hour, suddenly I was awake early in the morning again. During the first week or so, I was so exhausted in the evenings that I would fall asleep at 8:00 pm and wake around 4:30 am. Gradually this shifted until I am now at a comfortable 5:30 am wake-up time, as I had in the summer.
I am back to my morning ritual of coffee/journal/reading. The cooler temperatures also mean a switch to a comforting hot tea after a single cup of coffee where I receive my jolt of caffeine. I have finished reading two books and been writing more.
So perhaps as I examine the year, without wanting to “force” myself to wake at a particular time with an alarm, I need to have the mentality that “for the month of October, I need to assume that I am not going to have very productive mornings.” Then Daylight Savings Time will end and it will all self-correct.
I used to jokingly be such an advocate for the end of the practice Daylight Savings Time altogether, but after being so aware of the effect that it had on me this year, I may have changed my tune.