Prepare for Daylight Savings Time

Daylight savings time will soon be upon us.  With a little preparation, you can be ready.

The transition to daylight savings time pushes sunrise and sunset an hour later on 3/11/2012.

Your body’s internal clock, however, has no way of knowing about the onset of daylight saving time.  To prepare yourself, consider advancing bed and wake times by about 15 minutes for 4 nights through 3/11.  For example, if you go to bed at 10 pm, go to bed at 9:45 3/7, then 9:30 on 3/8, 9:15 on 3/9, then 9 pm on 3/10.  If you wake up at 6 am normally, awaken at 5:45 3/8, then 5:30 3/9, and then 5:15 3/10. You’ll be aiming to go to bed at 9 pm on 3/10, but you will awaken at 6 am on 3/11.  Such a schedule keeps your sleep opportunity constant.  If you are a natural night owl, you may need to maximize morning light and minimize evening light to help move your sleep times earlier. 

Several authors have attempted to link clock changes to car accidents and medical emergencies.  The data thus far are mixed.  However, teenagers are particularly susceptible to the March leap forward because of their natural night owl tendencies- when the sun goes down later, their internal clocks end up being reset later.  So, maintenance of a regular sleep schedule, and the other principles of good sleep, is particularly valuable for young folks and, following the March leap forward, natural night owls.

Note that Arizona and Hawaii do not observe daylight savings time.