Sunday We Greet Daylight Savings Time, Yes!
Sunday, most of our nation, sans Arizona and Hawaii, will greet dailylight savings time (DLS) by losing an hour of sleep.
DSL officially begins at 2:00a: Spring forward, remember?
Arizona and Hawaii do not participate.
The Big Q: Why?
The Big A: Because each state is free to choose or ignore the time convention.
So, for most Americans, this Sunday morning is a time to readjust our schedules and get ushers in Spring.
Aside from some sluggishness, there are some health implications that accompany the loss of that hour.
The New England Journal of Medicine published results of a study that showed during the 1st few days after we lose an hour of sleep, there were increases in car accidents and heart attacks.
But the Fall-back extra-hour benefit has its drawbacks too.
A 2016 study in Epidemiology found an increase of depression in the Fall, when people are suddenly leaving jobs in the dark.
All this attention focused on the give and take of an hour is not unwarranted.
Disrupting sleep can have dire consequences.
So, what is behind the sleep mechanism and why does it love its schedule so much?
Well, experts say that light is the principal cue to your circadian rhythm, aka, the sleep/wake cycle, as it suppresses sleep-activating melatonin in our system. If that light comes earlier to your window Sunday morning, you stand a greater chance of waking earlier.
Make sure curtains keep out bright light early Sunday. Then, expose yourself to the light during the waking hours as much as possible, and limit bright light when it is dark outside to help steady your sleeping patterns.
Dr. Robert Oexman, director of The Sleep to Live Institute, agrees.
Light figures prominently in his 5-part plan to deal with Daylight Saving Time, see below:
- Light. Keep your bedroom completely dark, as even a bright alarm clock can disrupt melatonin production.
- Temperature. Keep your bedroom between 65 and 68 degrees, optimal for sleeping.
- Eliminate all noise. If this is not practical, try “white noise” like a droning low-frequency fan. Some alarm clocks even have a white noise feature like “rain” or “waterfall.”
- Sleep comfort. Make sure your bed and pillow offer the support you personally need.
- Bedding. Be sure to have your very own sheet or comforter, in the event yours gets “taken” during the night.
The National Sleep Foundation adds to that list, as follows:
- Do not read in bed or watch TV. This is counter to some advice that says these activities can make you drowsy. But, the theory goes, if you are entertained, you will likely not want to sleep.
- Regular exercise will actually get your body on a schedule that will increase melatonin production at the right time. Just avoid exertion close to your bedtime when possible. The extra energy will not help you sleep.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. These affect mood and can disrupt normal sleeping patterns.
- Try a set of earplugs, an eye mask.
- Do not overdo sleep aids. Many people report excellent results with the supplement melatonin.
- If all else fails, see your doctor.
Wonder what exactly is gained by messing with our internal clocks?
The answer, comes from Benjamin Franklin.
Daylight Saving Time adds one hour for the purpose of making better use of daylight and conserving energy. It was Ben Franklin who suggested people were putting an undue strain on candles. Getting people out of bed earlier would make better use of daylight, therefore not relying on candles as much. In 1784 he penned his thoughts in an essay entitled, “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light.”
Germany was the 1st to put the plan into play on 30 April 1916 to make economical use of daylight for World War I. It was introduced for much the same reason here in Y 1918 by President Woodrow Wilson.
On Sunday morning, give a hat tip to Ben Franklin.
Have a terrific weekend.