Finding time to welcome the return of Daylight Saving Time always feels positive, and can be a challenge at the same time. We’ll be doing it again in the wee hours of next Sunday morning, and it’s always good to put a little thought into preparing ahead of time.
The ritual is that every year, on the second Sunday in March, many of us in the US and Canada (there are actually quite a few variations throughout the region) set our clocks ahead one hour. In the US, Daylight Saving Time ends on the first Sunday in November. In other geographic regions, the start date and the duration may differ. For example, in much of Europe “Summer Time” begins at 1 AM GMT on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October.
What is a common thread, no matter where you live, is the fact that this time change entails a significant adjustment as it ushers in a period of longer days. It may not seem like much, but your body has gotten used to the rhythms of Standard Time, and the loss of an hour as you spring ahead is something you’ll do well to plan for.
It’s tempting to leap ahead with the clock and pack lots of tasks and activities into that “extra” hour of light at the end of the day. You’ll get there, but try to remember that slow and steady wins the race!
Here are 3 tips to help you make a smooth transition into this expansive time:
- Plan Ahead: It’s important to realize that you actually will have a shorter day on the day that you set your clock ahead. Plan accordingly. Don’t expect to get as much done; you are only working with 23 hours! Aim to go to bed a little earlier on Sunday night if you can. This change can be very disruptive to sleep patterns and to morning routines. Paying special attention to your sleep schedule can help you catch up with yourself!
- Stay Healthy: Don’t underestimate the impact of the loss (or gain) of an hour. The more you pay attention to your body’s needs for exercise, hydration, nutrition and rest during this time, the better off you will be.
- Be Careful: Expect your stress level to increase as your routine is thrown out of whack. You may have less patience, or you may find it difficult to focus and stay on track with tasks. There is evidence that more accidents happen when people are making this transition. Build time into your schedule to rest and reflect. Pay attention to how you are feeling and if you find that something isn’t working for you, make the necessary adjustments.
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© Copyright 2011 Paula Eder, Ph.D.