EDITORIAL: It’s time for New Jersey to adopt year-round Daylight Saving Time

Just a few days ago, when it turned 2 a.m., clocks, mostly, automatically turned back to 1 a.m. With the end of Daylight Saving (no “s” at the end — it’s Saving) Time, the sun comes up earlier in the morning, but by 5 p.m., it’s dark outside.

For some, the change to Standard Time marks the beginning of a struggle that could last for several months.

The New Jersey Department of Human Services recently sent out a reminder to the press that this is a time when those who suffer from depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) see some of their greatest challenges.

“While the approaching holiday season is typically marked by celebration and good cheer, the shorter days, at least initially, can create more depression for people with SAD,” Valerie Mielkie, the department’s assistant commissioner for the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, noted.

She also noted that for those with bipolar disorder, severe depression or SAD, the challenges become greater because of “shorter days of sunlight.”

Some of the signs one might see in a person with SAD include:

Loss of interest in work or other activities; mood changes; slow, sluggish, lethargic movement; social withdrawal; unhappiness and irritability; increased appetite with weight gain; increased sleep and daytime sleepiness; and less energy and ability to concentrate in the afternoon.

The department offers suggestions on how to cope, including:

Spend time with your loved ones even though the person may be withdrawn or quiet; keep your house well lit; take a walk outside each day; practice relaxation techniques such as yoga, tai chi and medication; eat a well-balanced diet; sit closer to bright windows both at home and in the office; and refer an individual to a therapist, psychiatrist or physician for treatment.

But we believe there is a way to help cope that is more logical than much else — we should end the practice of setting clocks back in November completely, much like Arizona and Hawaii have — as well as several U.S. Territories.

The changes must be done on a state level, and then, the U.S. Congress must also approve the changes. Several states have already moved to observe Daylight Saving Time year round, but what a shocker, the Congress hasn’t yet moved to adopt the changes.

That said, it is our hope the State of New Jersey, sooner than later, moves to adopt DST year round. We know it might take an eternity for the Congress to then approve such a change, but it can’t do anything unless the state does its part first.

So Gov. Phil Murphy and the State Legislature — do your part to ensure evenings are brighter year round. While it may seem basic on the surface, doing so might just save people who could otherwise be hurt by the early darkness.

That, alone, should be enough of a reason to make such a change.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.