Health & Wellness Articles

6 Tips to Deal with Daylight Saving Time

Time-Tested Ways to Cope with the Time Change

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It’s that time of year again, when we reset our clocks and try to readjust to the time change associated with Daylight Saving Time (DST). Some of us breeze through the change seamlessly, yet others feel out of sorts for days. If you have trouble dealing with this sudden disruption in your routine, it is for good reason.

Even though your brain knows that the time on the clock has changed, your body's internal clock does not. In the fall, when you’ve gained an hour of sleep, you might not feel tired, but you may get cranky when you have to wait an extra hour before your lunch break or when it feels like work should have ended an hour ago. When the clocks move forward in the spring, you'll be robbed of an hour of sleep. That night, you may not be able to fall into your normal sleep rhythms an hour earlier than you’re used to, and you won’t get as much quality sleep as you need.

Since its inception in the early 1900s, DST has been the subject of controversy. Studies are contradictory, showing that DST has both positive and negative impacts on health, safety, energy consumption, and the economy. A sampling of the issues includes:
  • Health: DST provides more daylight for outdoor exercise and yard work in the evenings, which could improve fitness levels. It also provides more opportunities for sun exposure, which triggers vitamin D synthesis in the skin. However, more sun exposure could lead to higher rates of skin cancer, according to some experts. And some new research shows that heart attacks increase the days following the spring time change (when we lose an hour), but decrease after the fall time change (when we gain an hour).
  • Safety: In the weeks following the spring time change, there are more traffic accidents. But overall, during the course of DST there are fewer traffic fatalities than during standard time.
  • Energy Consumption: While it had been hypothesized that DST would help to conserve energy, several studies have shown that DST leads to increased energy and fuel consumption.
  • Economy: Some industries, like retail businesses and golf courses, benefit from DST, as consumers have more time to shop and play. But other industries including farming, theaters, and prime time television suffer. Continued ›
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About The Author

Liza Barnes Liza Barnes
Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.

Member Comments

  • Either stay on DST or go off it completely. This switching back and forth is terrible. When we lived in Indiana there was no DST. We managed fine. - 3/9/2015 10:50:01 AM
  • I love the long days. Get up early before the rush then to lighter evenings great.

    I use to go the work at 0230 and that didn't matter what the clock said it was always dark and light coming home at 1200

    - 3/8/2015 12:11:42 PM
  • The science in this article is laughable. More accidents, more electricity use due to time changes? Really? Not due to changes in amount of light, snow and ice, heat and use of air conditioning etc? Correlations are not causation. - 11/2/2014 7:24:51 AM
  • I woke up at 4:45 am instead of 5:45 am, but I've seen and felt the advent of the time change for at least two weeks. I'd been going to bed a little later and getting up a little later unless I had a sleepless night. I hope by Wednesday I'll have adapted to this nonsense.
    - 11/2/2014 6:47:18 AM
  • I didn't gain an hour of sleep. I usually get up at 5 without even setting an alarm. Right on schedule, my body woke up, but now it was 4 am. Two hours later I'm finally seeing sunrise. Oh well, I'll adjust eventually. - 11/2/2014 6:07:21 AM
  • I think we should just pick a time and stick with it. Arizona doesn't change their clocks and they seem to cope just fine. - 11/1/2014 11:41:35 AM
  • I like the time change - Spring ahead - Fall behind.
    Spring ahead more daylight for gardening, walking, visiting friends & relatives, etc.
    Get everything done & drive to my favorite spots to see beautiful sunsets. - 3/9/2014 5:00:16 PM
  • the time change never bothers me. For about a week I cannot believe how late or early it is lol But I get over it and life goes on as it has every year. - 3/9/2014 2:59:08 PM
  • I dislike DST. That said, though, my biggest beef with this article is that SP posted it as featured on Monday. Tip #1 - start early, and change your clock early. How about posting it on FRIDAY, SparkPeople?!?!? - 11/4/2013 8:29:23 AM
  • Well I am up at 2:00 am - I would have been happy staying on the same time. Going to work when it is dark and getting home when it is dark. - 11/3/2013 3:12:17 AM
  • Wish Arizona would go on daylight savings, its a real pain, no one else ever knows what time it is here! - 3/8/2013 7:43:42 PM
  • Happy to live in Hawaii, we don't adjust our clocks, so no disruption there. I just keep forgetting to add the extra hour to the time difference when I call family on the mainland. - 3/8/2013 1:36:01 PM
  • Unlike the previous poster, I find I need more than two days to adjust. When I'm on top of things, I start moving my clock back in 15-min. increments a week in advance. Then I'm 'there' when the morning arrives.

    Personally, I HATE dst--you don't "gain" or "lose" daylight; you just gain/lose a bit of convenience at the expense of all sorts of irritations (not least being confusion in international communication--si
    nce different countries start/end at different points, and the southern hemisphere moves in reverse of the northern, it becomes complicated twice a year to remember when it is where). When there was no/minimal electricity available, perhaps 'gaining' an hour made sense, but now so few people are dependent on natural light for their activities, it's a ponderous dinosaur that should be relegated to extinction. - 3/8/2013 12:23:56 PM
  • i dont understand the people who have issues adjusting. my mom always changed our clocks before we went to bed on saturday night and i woke up on sunday feeling fine. even when i had to work at 4 in the morning i still had no issue adjusting to the time change. i like the spring time change better because that means longer days and more sun. the fall one makes me sad because then it starts getting dark at 5. i dont like that. - 3/8/2013 10:54:04 AM
  • I LOVE the change in the Spring! I was so excited to realize it is this weekend! I hate the fall change and the gloomy dark days! - 3/8/2013 6:21:55 AM

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