Get Ready to Change Those Clocks!

This Sunday, March 11th, we switch from standard to daylight saving time. Daylight saving time (“DST”) is also called summer time or daylight savings time. When DST is not put into place, it is called standard time, normal time or winter time.

Stuart Miles

Clocks get set an hour ahead, meaning a loss of time but more evening hours of daylight.  It may be only an hour, but shifts in sleep schedules can throw off those of us who are already sleep-deprived. That includes many Americans, one-third of who don’t get the 7 to 9 hours of sleep recommended by the National Sleep Foundation, according to recent government data. Chronic lack of sleep is associated with health risks like weight gain, depression and even early death.  Likewise, even in the short term, sleep loss can be a hazard: a 2001 study found that traffic accidents bump up slightly on the Monday following the spring shift to Daylight Saving Time.

Dr. Gina Chen, sleep specialist with The Polyclinic’s Sleep Medicine Center located in Seattle, Washington, recommends you should respect your sleep time and continue to get your usual amount of sleep.  She advises:
  • Reset all of your clocks on the Saturday evening before the switch.
  • Once clocks have been set, go to bed an hour later than usual on Saturday.  In other words, if you usually go to bed at 10 p.m., your clock will say 11 p.m.
  • Get up on Sunday, the first day of daylight saving time, at your usual time (according to your clock).
  • Resist the temptation to take a nap in the middle of the day on Sunday.
  • Go to bed on Sunday at your usual time (according to your clock).
Good luck and be aware of the correct time on Sunday!
Sources:  Alexandra Sifferlin, “Start Adjusting Your Body Clock Now.”  8 March 2012.

“Daylight Saving Time – Sleep tips from The Polyclinic.” 8 March 2012.

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