Why Daylight Saving Time is a Nightmare for Insomniacs
As anyone who has known me for more than a few weeks can attest, I am one of 10% of the population that suffers from chronic insomnia. On the bright side I am the friend you can text at 3am when you are having an existential crisis because the odds are pretty good I’m still awake. I have tried every technique, drug, and alternative therapy imaginable but as any doctor will tell you, one of the most effective management tools is keeping a regular sleep schedule. This requires going to bed and waking up at the same time no matter what and it’s hard to maintain on a normal Sunday when all you want to do is sleep until brunch.
The onset of Daylight Saving time in the spring wreaks havoc with this strategy and induces in insomniacs sleep deprived fuckery that is topped only by jet lag or bringing an infant human into your life. Luckily, I don’t have any children that I’m aware of and I at least get a vacation along with jet lag, but the only thing that can get me out of Daylight Saving Time is an act of the California legislature. Most days I’m already operating on less than optimal amounts of sleep and knowing I’ll be lopping an extra hour off this weekend induces anxiety on a level of waiting for Trump to take the stage at yet another GOP ‘debate’. I know you normal sleepers are thinking, “it’s only an hour, what’s the big deal?” It’s a really big deal because even when I am in a period of stable sleep, springing forward always triggers an epic bout of battling the night that can last over a week and results in way more than just an hour of sleep lost. This is this case for most people with chronic insomnia.
Studies have shown that even moderate sleep deprivation impairs your brain as much as being drunk, but it doesn’t include the fun part of being drunk. You just become a crabby, emotional, slow-witted person who can’t lift your arms above your head. The list of shit I have done in the days after DST reads like inebriated sorority girl shenanigans:
- Showing up to work with most of my clothes on inside out and no deodorant.
- Walking into a wall and giving myself a black eye
- cc’ing my entire office on a private email
- Crying while collapsed on the floor, listening to Taylor Swift, and totally relating to her heartbreak
- And the worst year ever, rendering two cars undriveable at an intersection on Division because my brain completely ceased to register the meaning of a red light. I actually saw the red light but nothing about it translated into my foot hitting the breaks until t-boning the other car was inevitable.
Next week I’ll do my best to contain the mayhem, not drive anywhere and limit my contact with the outside world for a few days. For those of you who barely notice the time shift (and you are probably the same jerks who don’t get hangovers) have some patience and compassion for those of us who could desperately use some sleep.