Ready or not, daylight saving time is coming. This Sunday, March 12th, we “spring forward” by moving the clocks an hour ahead. And even though we only lose an hour of sleep that night, the shift can be hard to adjust to, leaving some folks feeling jet lagged at first.
While it’s nice to have some extra daylight in the evenings, those dark mornings can leave us feeling like we’re waking up in the middle of the night. The thing is, daylight saving time disrupts our internal clock, which can lead to sleep loss and poor sleep quality, and that can lead to negative health consequences. Sleep experts agree that our circadian rhythm does best in standard time, when we get more light in the morning and darkness in the evening, which cues our internal clock to wind down.
So, unless you live in Hawaii, parts of Arizona, or the U.S. Virgin Islands - where they don’t observe daylight saving time - now is the time to start preparing for the change. These things can help soften the shock to your system:
- Go to sleep an hour or so earlier on Saturday, March 11th.
- Skip that nightcap or heavy late-night snack before going to bed.
- Re-set the clocks for your kids a day or two before Saturday, and make sure that you start the “new” wake-up time on Sunday.
- Turn bright lights and screens off an hour or two before bedtime, which is a good practice for all nights.
- Get some sunlight on your face as early as you can.
- Be extra careful on the roads, whether you’re a driver, passenger, pedestrian or cyclist. Every year, the week after we change to daylight saving time, there’s a nearly 10% increase in car accidents, heart attacks and strokes, so extra caution can’t hurt.