Written by Rebecca McCarthy
The dark days are growing nearer: You've got a few days to go until it's time to turn your clocks to "fall back" one hour as daylight savings time ends.
Daylight savings time ends in the United States on Sunday, Nov. 3, at 2 a.m. The sun has been rising over Michigan after 8 a.m., but it will be an hour earlier with the time change. That may give you time to fit in a morning walk before
You will be setting your clock back one hour, following the adage of “spring forward, fall back.” The “extra” hour gives you a chance to catch up on the sleep you lost in March when the clocks moved forward and daylight savings time began.
How Daylight Saving Got its Start
In an effort to save resources during World War II, the U.S. made daylight saving time mandatory for the whole country. And it was observed the entire year. Now it's optional for states, so, for example, if you travel from California to Arizona in the winter, you'll lose an hour.
However, the idea has been around about as long as the United States itself. Benjamin Franklin first suggested daylight saving time in 1748. Before it was widely adopted in the 1970s, countries — and even neighboring cities — phased the change in gradually.
In 1965, St. Paul and Minneapolis were on different time zones for two weeks. Today, the time change affects what most call their “internal clock,” referred to by doctors as circadian rhythm. Like flying from Chicago to New York, daylight savings can cause a slight jet lag-type effect on our sleep schedules, which may cause adjustment issues.
Some studies have shown that extending daylight saving time results in a reduction in energy consumption; other studies suggest just the opposite.
At any rate, here are some tips on making the adjustment:
1. Get a head start on the transition to Eastern Standard Time. You can begin to reset your biological clock before the time change, which takes place at 2 a.m. Sunday. Go to bed 15 minutes later each night on Thursday and Friday, and get up 15 minutes later each morning on Friday and Saturday.
2. Have a backup alarm and double check your morning plans. Don’t rely on your smartphone’s alarm clock to wake you up in case there’s a software glitch. On Saturday night, turn back the time by one hour and then set the alarm on an old-fashioned alarm clock or clock radio near your bed. If you are scheduled for a flight, international conference call or another event involving multiple time zones on Sunday, avoid confusion by confirming the time of your plans a day or two in advance.
3. Take advantage of the chance to grab an extra hour of sleep. Reduce your sleep deficit by using the hour gained from the time change to enjoy an extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning. Block out morning sun in your bedroom because sunlight is an alerting stimulus. You can stay in bed an hour longer, but you can’t delay the sunrise.
4. Maintain your regular bedtime rather than going to bed one hour later after the time change. This enables you to gain an hour of extra sleep each night, which will help make you feel better and be more productive and pleasant throughout the day.
5. Be mindful of pedestrians facing increased hazards. It’s prudent to be extra careful when walking and driving in darkness. Studies show that after the fall daylight saving time switch, pedestrians walking during evening rush hour are nearly three times more likely to be struck and killed by cars than before the time change.
(Additional information in this report from news releases.)