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'Why are we messing with time?'

David Miles gets up at 4:45 a.m. to get ready for work, but when daylight saving time kicks in, he's not a happy camper when that alarm goes off.

“I complain about it every time we have the time change,” the 37-year-old Medford resident said. “Why are we messing with time?”

His annoyance with daylight saving time — an annoyance shared by millions of Americans — has turned him into a man with a mission.

Miles has started a statewide petition that would get rid of daylight saving time in Oregon.

He’s got a group of 20 volunteers throughout the state gathering signatures, though he acknowledges he might have to raise money to get paid signature gatherers to be successful.

Miles said he’s working on getting the initial 1,000 signatures required by the Oregon Secretary of State's Office. Once he clears that hurdle, he then has to get 117,578 signatures to qualify for the November 2016 ballot. Other legislative efforts to end daylight saving time in Oregon have failed.

If successful, Miles' initiative would abolish daylight saving time in 2018, and individual counties could opt out through an election. Miles said Malheur County already follows Mountain time because it is next to Idaho.

During the final days of World War I in 1918, daylight saving time began in the United States as a way to conserve electricity.

In 1966, the Uniform Time Act made it more official with the twice-yearly practice of setting the clock one hour forward in the spring and one hour backward in the fall. Hawaii and Arizona have opted out of daylight saving time, along with the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Marianas.

The U.S. Department of Energy in 2008 found energy consumption dropped by 0.03 percent because of daylight saving time. Another study in the same year by the University of California-Santa Barbara suggested it might increase energy consumption.

Miles, a community service officer with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, said he understands why some people like daylight saving time, because it helps children who might otherwise find themselves waiting in the dark for a school bus.

On the other hand, caretakers of special-needs children find changing over to daylight saving time creates disruptions.

“The schedule is what helps the children stay grounded,” Miles said.

Michael Schwartz, insomnia education coordinator for Asante Sleep Center, said pushing the clock forward in the spring is difficult for many people, including himself.

“It’s problematic,” he said. “The natural tendency of humans is to stay up a little bit later.”

Schwartz, who personally would like to get rid of daylight saving time, said the fall change is better handled by most humans because it provides an extra hour of sleep.

But the spring time change throws most people off.

“That’s like telling them to get up at 5 instead of 6 — them’s fighting words,” Schwartz said.

The time change isn’t particularly problematic for people with sleep apnea or some kind of neurological problem, he said.

“For people with insomnia, the time changes are particularly difficult,” he said. It’s also a problem in a sleep-deprived society, Schwartz said.

Schwartz said a good sleep tip that he recommends and generally lives by is to get up with the sun, which would mean rising at 5:30 a.m. in late spring and early summer. Humans are generally divided into "larks," who get up with the sun, and "owls," who go to sleep late and wake up late, he said.

In his years of experience, Schwartz said those who get up with the sun typically have the best night's rest.

“They tend to be some of the best sleepers,” he said.

For information about the petition, go to: 

https://www.facebook.com/nomoredstinoregon/

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @reporterdm.

David Miles