Survival Training for Daylight Saving Time

Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D. is a Gynecologist, Director of the New York Menopause Center, Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Assistant Attending Obstetrician and Gynecologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She is a board certified fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Allen is also a member of the Faculty Advisory Board and the Women’s Health Director of The Weill Cornell Community Clinic (WCCC). Dr. Allen was the recipient of the 2014 American Medical Women’s Association Presidential Award.

“Country Sunrise.” Photo by Henry Southgate via Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I suffer, along with other sleep-sensitive people who are predominantly night owls, not larks, when the clock is pushed forward by an hour at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday of March each year. To create Daylight Saving Time, we lose one hour of sleep on the night of the transition but the impact of this change in time lasts much longer for many of us.

This year, as an experiment, I set my clock ahead one week before the time change. I knew that the time on my watch was an hour ahead of the actual time but I decided to try “mind over reality.” I woke up and went to work an hour earlier all last week and went to bed an hour earlier as well.

This weekend The Husband and I left early on Friday for the country to recover from my experiment. We had an early dinner at Arethusa al tavolo in Bantam, Conn., where the food and service are always extraordinary. The chef and the owners are known for their use of area-sourced products, a creative menu and perfect proportions. After dinner we were given milk and cookies, an unexpected and nurturing surprise. The owners also have a dairy farm and a creamery, so the milk was fresh and delicious.

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We went to bed on Friday night, still pretending that we were already suffering through Daylight Saving Time.  However, it was much easier to wake up rested on Saturday morning after a sound sleep that was enhanced by crisp clean air coming through an opened window and the almost absence of sound . . . just the lullaby of the wind passing through the branches of trees.

Walking in the country is much more fun than walking or running on a treadmill. We walked one mile from our rental house to the new house we will own on April 1. The current owners were in residence so we resisted our impulse to wander in and look around again. On Saturday afternoon we saw Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, starring the fantastic Tina Fey. Fun but thoughtful film based on a real-life journalist who was sent to Afghanistan to cover the war that wasn’t really considered to be a war. If you have not seen it, rush to the theater nearest you. Remember we need to show up for the women in film, not just complain that there are no women over 40 anchoring films, especially action movies.  

We left on Saturday afternoon to have early dinner with The Kid, who lives in a village just outside New York City. He is 4 now and loves the local Japanese restaurant, where he savored sushi then green tea ice cream. He was good company and had his own early bedtime so we were back in the city and ready for bed early as well. Sunday morning arrived one hour early but this year it was not painful.

RELATED: Sleep Deprivation and the Gift of Early Morning Light

Since passing any bills in Congress seems to be impossible these days, I know that getting the “Dr. Pat Bill to Eliminate Daylight Saving Time” will never see the light of day, so I have to learn to live with this loss of an hour every year when we “spring forward.” At least I have a mind trick that worked for me this year.  I chose one week of boot camp pretending that Daylight Saving Time had already begun and included a restful weekend before the Sunday-morning change of time actually started.  Time management never worked better for me.


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  • Andrea March 14, 2016 at 9:02 am

    Very clever of you Pat! Keeping track of the correct time on your devices can be tricky. Sounds like a wonderful weekend.