Daylight saving time on a Saturday? Sleep on it
Yes, one week from Sunday we'll be losing one hour's sleep when daylight saving time kicks in.
But if Sleepy's, the mattress company, has its way, that sleep loss in years to come will occur one day earlier.
The Hicksville-based firm has launched a petition asking lawmakers to consider moving that "spring ahead" moment back a day from Sunday to Saturday, this with an eye to lessening people's "clock shock" when they awake groggy on Monday morning.
People would have a little more time to make the transition, said Nancy Rothstein, a consultant and "sleep ambassador" for Sleepy's. Changing all those clocks is easy, she said, but "the body has its biology" and needs time to adjust, especially for those who are already sleep-deprived.
At the very least, the petition, posted Feb. 19 on Sleepy's Facebook page, gives people a chance to express an opinion and gets a dialogue going, she said.
At the root of the petition is research showing that people favor the idea. A 2011 survey for the company found that 48 percent of 1,020 respondents favored such a switch -- more so than the four percent who liked the idea of urging bosses to give employees a break on Monday morning and let them sleep in.
This year Sleepy's found that 66 percent of 1,050 respondents favored or strongly favored the one-day-earlier time switch.
Apart for those who have to go to work on Saturday, the idea "sounds reasonable," as it gives people one more day to adjust, said Saul A. Rothenberg, behavioral sleep medicine specialist with the Sleep Disorders Center of North Shore-LIJ. "Having an extra day to adjust can't be a bad thing."
Still, as of Friday, 30 people had signed the virtual petition on Care2.com.
"It's early," Rothstein said. "We feel the buzz about daylight saving time doesn't really get started until about a week before, when people start to fret about how the change affects their sleep and start chatting more about it."
So, what would it take to get the country to wake up earlier on Saturday in years to come?
An act of Congress, said a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Transportation, which oversees the observance of daylight saving time, this because of the need for time standardization for many means of transportation.
The present daylight saving time system was established by the Uniform Time Act of 1966, as amended, said the DOT website.
Still, Congress may not be eager to jump on this bandwagon, even though the original reason for a Sunday time switch carries less weight.
Back in the early days it was determined that the fewest trains were on the move in the 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. Sunday time range, said Michael Downing, author of "Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time."
And back before that time act, railroads -- and their scheduling needs -- "had been driving all the standardization of time," he said.
One objection to a switch to Saturday would be its effect on the Sabbath for orthodox Jews, he said. Also, on the commercial front, more businesses are open on Saturday than Sunday, he said, meaning scheduling disruptions.
So, while waiting for Congress to mull over this issue, people can just go ahead and take matters into their own hands, said Rothstein, as there's no law against gradually hitting the hay a little earlier each night as the official switch over approaches.