Time Marches Forward

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is observed by many countries around the world. For most of us in the U.S., the big switch happens this weekend, when early, early, early Sunday a.m. we’ll move our clocks forward one hour. This causes some of us to stumble around all day on Sunday, yawning and grumbling over the loss of a precious hour of slumber. That is, until 4 or 5 p.m., when we realize we have a couple hours of daylight left to play. (To that point, I’ve always wondered why we can’t start on Saturday, which would give us two longer weekend days.)

This time shift is supposed to help reduce energy costs, increase sales for retailers (especially sports-related ones), reduce crime, and decrease traffic accidents. There are some who say it also increases the risk of heart disease, encourages more on-the-go eating (read:. fast food), and increases sleep deficit (possibly causing more traffic accidents.)

I have no idea of the accuracy of any of that, nor am I particularly concerned about it. I lose an hour of sleep but gain an hour of warmer daylight. It’s a wash.

The Summa Health people have a few tips on how to adjust to DST:

Maintain a regular bedtime on Saturday night. This helps keep a constant sleep schedule and reduces sleep debt.
– Do not nap on Saturday before the time change. If a nap is necessary, it’s best to limit it to less than one hour and no later than 3 p.m.
[Cammy note: they almost lost me with this one.]
– Although DST means the sun will rise an hour later, it’s important to maintain a dark sleeping area.
– Simulate the time change a few days in advance for better adjustment.
– Gradually move bedtime and the desired wake up time by 15 minutes every 1 – 2 days to potentially ease difficulty adjusting to the time change.

Since the only personal side effect of DST I’ve noticed is an increased propensity for grumbling (which I probably would’ve been doing anyway), I doubt I’ll follow any of those suggestions, but it was really nice of them to try to help.

And you? Have you noticed any negative effects of DST on your diet/fitness/health? Do you do anything special to prepare for or manage the switch? Inquiring minds, you know…