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Daylight Saving Time – Spring Forward!

March 12, 2021

Spring and longer days are just around the corner as almost all U.S. states prepare to spring forward, officially marking the start of Daylight Saving Time. Hawaii and Arizona are the two states that have opted out of observing Daylight Saving Time. However, the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona does observe Daylight Saving Time so it can have a uniform time with the parts of the territory in Utah and New Mexico. A few U.S. territories also refrain from observing Daylight Saving Time: the commonwealths of Puerto Rico and the Northern Marina Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam.

Daylight Saving Time starts each year on the second Sunday in March. Mark your calendars for 2AM, March 14th to spring forward in 2021. The practice involves moving clocks forward one hour from standard time during the summer months and changing them back again in the fall. This year, Daylight Saving Time ends on Nov. 7th.

World War I Led To The Initial Adoption Of Daylight Savings Time

The need to conserve coal used for heating homes after World War I led to the wider adoption of Daylight Saving Time. The Germans were the first to officially adopt the light-extending system in 1915, as a fuel-saving measure during World War I. This led to the introduction in 1916 of British Summer Time: From May 21 to October 1, clocks in Britain were put an hour ahead. The United States followed in 1918, when Congress passed the Standard Time Act, which established the time zones. Daylight Saving Time is repealed in 1919 but continues to be recognized in certain areas of the United States. The United States officially adopted Daylight Saving Time (yes, not “Savings”) as part of the Uniform Time Act of 1966.

Health Effects of the Time Change

The grogginess you may feel on Monday the 15th will not just be your imagination. Losing an hour of sleep due to Daylight Saving Time can affect your sleep patterns for several days. Those who regularly do not get enough sleep will be most affected. People who already are sleep deprived might struggle more with memory, learning, social interactions, and overall cognitive performance.

Read on for some tips to help you deal with the time change.

Be Prepared

You know it’s coming. Go to bed an hour early Saturday, and make sure you get seven to eight hours of sleep. During the week after the time change, plan on going to bed a little earlier until your body adjusts. 15 to 30 minutes of extra sleep each day will help you make up for the hour you lost.

Get the kids to bed early, too. They pay more attention to their internal clocks than timepieces, so implement the routine Saturday night to help them adjust to the brighter-than-usual bedtime, so they’ll be set up for a good night’s sleep before school Monday

Stick to Your Schedule

It’s easy to fall into new patterns and routines when you lose an hour of sleep. However, sticking to your schedule when the time changes will make the transition easier for you and your family, especially if you have young children. Keep your same routine  

Plan to Get More Sunlight & Exercise

Man jogging on a dirt road in a fall sports jacket.

Daylight Saving Time means longer days and more sunshine – which is good news! Take advantage of this by scheduling time outdoors and scheduling exercise and activity into your routine. Let the sun shine in. Experts say that pulling back the curtains and allowing the sun to shine in the windows in the morning improves alertness during the day. You’re also more likely to feel sleepy when it is time to go to bed.

An extra hour of sun and physical activity will help you overcome any sleep deprivation due to Daylight Saving Time. If you are using the extra hour of daylight at the end of the day for exercise, make sure your session ends at least three hours before bedtime, because the energy boost that exercise gives you can cause insomnia.

Limit Napping

Woman getting out of bed and stretching. She is about to step onto a body weight scale.

Don’t give in to the urge for a long nap. Take a brief power nap, no longer than 20 minutes if you need, but longer naps will disrupt your sleep schedule and make it more difficult to adjust to Daylight Saving Time.

Plan ahead for Healthy Meals

The weekend of March 14th, skip the alcohol and plan on delicious, filling meals that are healthy to help your body prepare for losing an hour of sleep. Fuel your body with healthy proteins, fresh vegetables, and nutrient dense snacks during the week as well so you can feel like your best self. Don’t eat a big meal right before bedtime, as that can disrupt sleep.

While you may feel like reaching for an extra cup of coffee, cut back on the coffee to make sure that any extra caffeine during the day doesn’t interrupt you getting a good night’s sleep during the week. Alcohol can fragment sleep, so avoid it late at night. Chamomile tea or warm milk are better ideas for a restful night.

Create a Soothing Environment for Sleep

Woman meditating on a yoga mat in an open space.

Wind down with a relaxing activity, such as a warm bath or shower, gentle stretching, or yoga. Turn off the bright lights an hour or two before you go to bed — yes, even the television, your computer and other electronic devices. Read a relaxing book or listen to soothing music instead. Make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary — dark, quiet, well ventilated and at a slightly cooler temperature.

Here we are, heading into 8 months of “springing forward.”  Enjoy the sunshine! We invite you to let us know how we can help you incorporate healthy snacks into your day. We’re only a phone call away.

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