It’s almost that time of year again. Soon the clocks will spring ahead for most of the country, and we’ll enjoy that extra hour of daylight in the evening.
We’ll also lose an extra hour of sleep.
During 2016, daylight saving time is in effect from March 13 at 2 a.m. (local time) to Nov. 6 at 2 a.m. (local time).
Formally introduced in the U.S. in 1918, according to nist.gov, daylight saving is now observed by the entire country and its territories with the exception of Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the state of Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Indian Reservation).
In 2007, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 extended the length of DST by about one month “in the interest of reducing energy consumption,” according to nist.gov. But Congress can still “revert to the prior law should the change prove unpopular or if energy savings are not significant.”
Currently, in the U.S., daylight saving begins at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday of March and ends at 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday of November.
Though an hour difference in sleep doesn’t sound like much, it can take a toll on our physical and mental health.
“It’s more than losing an hour,” Pete Bils, vice president of sleep innovation and clinical research at Sleep Number told Metro last year. “If you actually set the table and look at the time frame of daylight saving time it's kind of setting up a perfect storm of sleep problems. We're just not well slept to begin with. So now we're going to rob another hour this weekend. That's going to put a lot of the people into the danger zone.”
- Slowly introduce earlier bedtimes through the week;
- restrict TV, computer and mobile screen use before bedtime,
- avoid any caffeine after noon;
- and try tricking your family by winding the clocks ahead before you need to.
Karin Sun, founder of Crane & Canopy, an online luxury bedding brand, also suggests setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier each day for the week leading up to March 13.
Other changes that create a sleep-friendly environment include:
- Stripping your bedding from its heavier feel to more freeing duvet and sheets;
- skipping the Sunday nap but gradually begin to relax;
- taking a hot bath, drinking some chamomile tea, reading and trying to skip TV;
- and eating well and exercising.
“Grab your friend, family member or Fido and go for a walk. Wake-up and enjoy the sunrise. Be active and eat well," Sun suggests. "This will help you sleep better overall.”