Your body is more affected by losing one hour of sleep than you might think! Make this year's transition easier with these tips.
Step 1: Get up earlier Begin the transition six days before the clock changes by going to bed and getting up 10 minutes earlier each day than the previous one. If you have kids, make them do the same.
Step 2: Let in the light During those six days, get some sunlight as soon as you get up and avoid light in the hours before bedtime. Controlling light intake helps your body's internal clock adjust to the earlier waking and sleeping times.
TIP: Avoid naps in the days leading up to the switch.
Step 3: Get some exercise Get some exercise on the afternoon before the 2 a.m. time change, like a brisk, 30-minute walk. Exercise releases serotonin, which helps advance your biological clock.
TIP: Forego exercise within three hours of bedtime; it may interfere with your ability to fall asleep.
Step 4: Take melatonin Take a melatonin supplement four or five hours before you go to bed on the night of the time change, to help you fall asleep; it's sold over-the-counter at drug stores.
Step 5: Don't drive drowsy On the day of the time adjustment make sure you're well rested before driving, and drive defensively. Studies show that car accidents increase the Monday after the clocks are pushed forward.
Step 6: Don't rush off Take your time getting to work that first week after the clocks are reset, even if it means you're late. Swedish researchers found that heart attacks increase during the week after daylight saving time begins. So make that your excuse to slow down for a few mornings; you've got the whole rest of the year to rush out the door.
FACT: Benjamin Franklin came up with the idea of daylight saving time in 1784, but it was not adopted until World War I, as an energy-saving measure.