This Sunday at 2 am, your clock will Spring forward for Daylight Saving Time. That could affect your … [+]
Well, the worst part of Daylight Saving Time (DST) is going to happen a little after 1:59 am Sunday morning. This when time travel will occur, the kind that doesn’t use a DeLorean or the Quantum Realm. When the clock is supposed to strike 2 am, it will spring forward to 3 am, effectively causing you to lose an hour.
If you are one of those morning people (otherwise known as morning larks or people who like to make the lives of night owls miserable), you may not even be awake when this happens. You may already be fast asleep, dreaming of things like 5 am walks with dogs who are secretly saying, “what the bleep,” and 7 am work meetings otherwise known as “what the bleep meetings.” But you may notice the change the next day should your wake time be the same as it always has been. That’s because you’ll end up getting one less hour of sleep.
For those of you who are night owls (that is, people who tend to stay up later or are normal), the DST switch may occur right in the middle of an important activity, like during a Saturday night Zoom call when you are talking about why hot dogs should not be on pizza or why rhinos should be flown upside down while they are transported. The sudden fast-forward of the clock may be quite disconcerting and make a later bedtime even later. Even if you do catch up on sleep by waking up later, the changing of the clocks may still disrupt your internal clock. In this case, internal clock means your Circadian rhythm and not whatever smartphone app is tracking your every move.
All of this can have health effects. For example, a study published in the journal Sleep Medicine in 2001 found a significant jump in automobile accidents on the Monday right after the DST Spring forward. Another study published eight years later in the Journal of Applied Psychology revealed a similar change for workplace injuries. As I have covered before for Forbes, the Spring clock shift may be with associated more depressive episodes, cluster headaches, suicides, sleep problems, and heart attacks.
I also wrote about how night owls tend to fare worse than early morning risers after the DST Spring forward. This can be expected because the clock shift makes early meetings even earlier, which can be tougher for those accustomed to waking up at the crack of mid-to-late morning. This is yet more evidence of a continuing conspiracy against night owls, an O-Anon conspiracy perhaps.
So what can you do to prevent such problems? Well, unless you live in Hawaii or parts of Arizona where they don’t observe DST changes, you can’t quite ignore the DST Spring forward. Ignoring the clock change would basically make you at least one hour late for everything until November 7, 2021, the day DST is scheduled to end, which can be tough if you have a job, a spouse, or a schedule. Another option would be pushing all dates, interviews, talks, and other appointments past November 7. This could be tough to explain to a potential date: “You are so wonderful. It would be great to have a date. But could we make it after November 7. Until then, I’ll be very busy preparing for National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day.”
Therefore, you have to cope with the time change each Spring until the year they finally eliminate DST or the planet erupts into a ball of fire due to climate change. whichever happens to come first. I’ve already written for Forbes about why it’s time to eliminate DST. The whole concept was originally started to save energy but has become a bit outdated since we waste plenty of energy nowadays regardless of what the sun is doing. Plus, phrases like “Get Your Hoe Ready,” wouldn’t quite have the same meaning these days:
Uncle Sam Turning Clock Back, “Victory! Congress Passes Daylight Saving Bill, Get Your Hoe Ready!”, … [+]
Coping with the DST Spring forward means trying to minimize the sleep deprivation and the risk of mistakes and accidents. So, if possible, avoid scheduling crucial activities on the Sunday, the Monday, and perhaps even the Tuesday after the time change. In other words, Monday shouldn’t be the day that you finally get to fix that nuclear reactor that you’ve been meaning to fix. Instead give yourself extra free time and leeway to do things. If your job and supervisor don’t allow this, try some meditation and relaxation techniques. For example, you may want to repeat a mantra like “my boss is a douchebag, my boss is a douchebag,” over and over again while slowly breathing in and out, making sure that you feel and concentrate on your breath.
Some may suggest getting to bed early tonight so that you get your full complement. This may be fine if you are the type that can snooze soon after your head hits the pillow. For others, this may be tough to do, especially if you are an awesome person, otherwise known as a night owl. Going to sleep early is not exactly a forte of night owls. It may take a day or even several days to re-adjust to an earlier bedtime and a, gasp, earlier wake-up time.
Whatever you do, don’t underestimate the potential effects of DST. You may be down with DST, yeah you know me, but your mind and body may not be truly ready yet. Give yourself as much of a break as you can, and take it easy over the next few days. DST may not be something you can sleep on, but try to do so.
I am a writer, journalist, professor, systems modeler, computational and digital health expert, avocado-eater, and entrepreneur, not always in that order. Currently, I am