HOMEWOOD-FLOSSMOOR, IL — It’s nearly time to fall back — and fall back into the biannual debate over whether we Americans should continue the practice of setting our clocks back, as we will Sunday, Nov. 1, and forward for daylight saving time.
That means the sun will set at 4:45 p.m. in Homewood-Flossmoor.
Nov. 1 is the earliest date possible for the end of daylight saving time, which officially occurs at 2 a.m. during normal sleeping hours. But let’s be real — there’s nothing normal about 2020 or the sleep schedules many of us are keeping, and that has reinvigorated the argument that Congress should make the switch back to standard time permanent.
Mental health experts warn that pandemic restrictions and job loss already are metaphorically plunging America into darkness — a mental health disaster unseen in our lifetimes.
In a mid-July KFF Tacking Poll, 53 percent U.S. adults said their mental health had been negatively affected due to worry and stress over the pandemic, a jump of more than 20 points from March, when the national mental health advocacy nonprofit added the question to polling.
The poll revealed some other mental health red flags: 36 percent had difficulty sleeping; 32 percent had difficulty eating; 12 percent increased their use of alcohol or drugs; and 12 percent said chronic conditions had worsened due to worry and stress over the coronavirus.
Winter depression is real, even without a pandemic. The days will continue to get shorter as we move toward the winter solstice on Dec. 21; and falling back to standard time makes the change more abrupt, triggering for many seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, a type of depression that occurs during the late fall and early winter. The exact cause of SAD isn’t known, but research suggests limited sunlight is a reason, and the symptoms usually dissipate as the days grow longer and daylight saving time returns on the first Sunday in March.
“SAD is not a minor condition, but because people typically experience it only during certain months, they don’t see it as a serious issue. However, it is imperative to treat,” Dr. Paolo Cassano, a psychiatrist who specializes in low-level-light therapy at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, told Harvard Health Publishing.
The pandemic has energized a movement to make daylight saving time permanent. Several states have passed legislation to do away with the twice-a-year time switch, but these laws can’t take effect until there’s change in the federal statute. The13 states where legislatures have approved bills favoring year-round DST are Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
California’s voters authorized year-round DST in 2018, but action on the referendum is still pending in their state Legislature.
In Illinois, all legislation is pending and was drafted in 2019.
Florida Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott cited studies from the American Journal of Public Health, the Brookings Institution and the U.S. Department of Energy in their proposal last month to keep
The South Florida Sun Sentinel is inviting the public to nominate the best employers in South Florida as Top Workplaces — and there’s still plenty of time to apply.
The deadline for final nominations has been extended from Oct. 30 to Dec. 11.
It is the seventh consecutive year that the news organization has recognized companies and nonprofit organizations in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties for their efforts to boost employee engagement, attract and retain top talent, and transform the workplace culture.
Any organization with 35 or more employees in Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade is eligible to participate. That includes public, private, nonprofit and government entities.
Energage, the research partner for the project, evaluates workplaces using a 24-question survey filled out by employees. So far, more than 115 South Florida companies have signed up to take the Top Workplaces survey.
The results of the contest will be published in May.
For information and to enter nominations, participants may visit http://www.sunsentinel.com/nominate or call (954) 666-0786.
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