Out of the Darkness

In the cold depths of winter, I wake up each morning with a sinking heart. I know that when I look outside, I won’t see anything but the suffocating darkness, and getting out of bed is the last thing I want to do. As the days go by, though, they brighten bit by bit, slowly lifting the gloom from the world. I hate waking up early—and as a teenager, I’m not really meant to—but school forces us to do so day in and day out. The day I finally see brightness when I open my eyes is a beautiful one. Standard time, which we have recently moved out of, means that our mornings would brighten by an entire hour, especially important during the long winter months. On the flip side of the day, the hour-darker evenings are a small sacrifice, a benefit even. The striking sunsets of winter term bedeck countless Instagram stories—they’re hard to miss. Switching to permanent Standard Time would be a relief for teenagers everywhere, giving us a beautiful hour of light in the mornings, decorating the sky in sunsets, and beckoning us back to our warm beds at night. 

I truly believe that the weather affects my mood, and waking up, one of the hardest parts of the day, is when the darkness has its worst impact. Take Winter Term: motivation is hard to find, the cold is unbearable, and time feels like it’s moving slower than your halfhearted English discussion. Waking up in the dark is one of the hardest parts, and puts me in a bad mood all day. As the days fade into spring, it gets brighter and brighter. Truly, those few glorious days at the end of February, when I lift my blinds to a clear, bright sky are magical. But suddenly, Daylight Savings hits—and the days jolt into black once again. Not only does it jerk my sleep schedule into chaos, it also wrenches me back into the depths of winter, making it twice as hard to believe that spring is really coming. 

But what about our internal clocks? According to Eric Suni from the National Sleep Foundation, teenagers are naturally inclined to sleep in and go to bed late. That’s part of our natural circadian rhythms, and schools should adopt later schedules to compensate. But the word that echoes is “should.” The older we get, it seems, the earlier we have to get up. As much as I would love to follow my inner clock, it’s impossible in the world we live in. Day in and day out, we get up at achingly early hours of the day and have the option of either forcing ourselves to sleep early—or never getting enough sleep. Staying in standard time would ease this struggle by lightening mornings and darkening nights. This would nudge our bodies’ circadian rhythms in the right direction—not necessarily what we want, but what we need to function in modern society. 

On a lighter note (get it?), there’s the simple beauty that Standard Time would bring. The sun rising an hour earlier means that it would set earlier as well, which boils down to one wondrous thing: more sunsets. These painted skies are an incredible wonder of nature. Sunsets are gorgeous, accessible, and don’t require you to shake off your tired morning mood to admire them. And if you really want your morning sunrise? Winter has got you! There’s still a few beautiful rising suns to admire during the darkest days of the coldest season. An abundance of sunsets would bring joy to our lives—both on the days that we need it most and on the days we’re just there to admire. 

Staying in Standard Time would not take away an hour of our day. If anything, it would allow us to begin our days happier, lighter, and readier to take on the world. In the busy, bustling, early-bird-catches-the-worm world we live in, the Standard Time schedule would agree with many peoples’ daily schedules, including at Andover. And finally, as the evening descends, we would admire the colors streaking across the sky for a few more glorious days of the year— more sunset dinners and golden-hour photo shoots. Then, finally, more peaceful sleep than ever before. Who wouldn’t want that?