Time Zone Torture: hopping between time zones too many times

April 2, 2021 — by Sina Salehi

Graphic by Sina Salehi

Usually, ordinary and unmotivated people don’t push themselves to the limit for the sake of art and its improvement. This story changes that.

In an online learning model, students’ locations don’t necessarily dictate their availability to participate, which inevitably begs the question: What would it be like to experience online learning in constantly differing time zones? So, I set out to wake up at what would normally be 8 a.m. in different time zones. 

Day 1: GMT (+1 hour ahead of PST) [6 a.m. PST]

This felt fairly all right. A little darkness more than accustomed to was foreseen outside, but nothing out of the ordinary. 

There’s not much to remark on; hopefully, the next few days are as easy.

Day 2: EST (+3 hours ahead of PST) [5 a.m. PST]

It’s pitch black outside my window. On the East Coast, however, the day is beginning.

I woke up fairly tired, and I’m pretty sure I may have fallen asleep a little into the experience as I sat at my desk doing work that I forgot to do the night before.

This isn’t too bad; next, I’m going to do something a little more extreme.

Day 3: CET (+9 hours ahead of PST) [midnight PST]

I’m supposed to be in Europe right now.

This is god awful.

I fell asleep at my desk two to three hours into the experiment. I woke up at 8:45 and was late for class. I reached for my LED light remote and shocked myself as I pressed the flashing light button on accident as I held the remote upside down.

I think I expected to do work at this time, but I don’t see any point in being productive if I’m being honest.

I fell asleep later. That felt nice.


When I started this experiment, I thought it would be a fun way to become an early-morning person, but no. That didn’t happen, and I feel deceived.

I also didn’t learn anything from traveling the world on my alarm clock app about actual distance learning. The only thing I learned was that jet lag affects your ability to focus in school, but that’s only somewhat useful to know. 

If you’re planning to travel to another time zone for your nephew-in-laws’ baby shower in the middle of a pandemic, just don’t. Not only are you going to be really annoying for not following pandemic guidelines, but you will also not do work because you’ll probably feel a need to sleep at 3 p.m., and your teachers may be a little mad.

In conclusion, time-hopping has too many downsides to be worth doing. Instead, go to sleep on time.