Be prepared to sacrifice 60 precious minutes of sleep this weekend to gain an hour more sunlight at the end of the day. Daylight saving time officially begins Sunday at 2 a.m.
And the “spring forward” of March is not without its costs. Sleep expert Stanley Coren, who researched DST in Canada, found a 5 to 7 percent increase in accident fatalities, including traffic and workplace accidents, in the three days following the start of daylight saving time.
But the long-term benefits outweigh that, he said.
Over the time that daylight savings time is in effect people get up and return home while the highways are brighter. This occurs over a period of months, so although daylight saving time causes an initial hazard, in the end there is a life-saving benefit. There is nothing that comes without its cost, and in this case the cost of saving lives in the long term is losing lives in the short term.
What else do we know about it? Not a whole lot, it seems.
Tufts University professor Michael Downing, author of “Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time,” told National Geographic:
Daylight saving has been credited with speeding up production in industrial plants and lessening eye strain among school children, and it has been blamed for forcing homemakers to prepare dinner during the hottest hours of the day and browning out lawns unaccustomed to so much sunshine.
As you can imagine, the Congressional Record on daylight saving constitutes the great comic novel of the 20th century. It’s absolutely fascinating what daylight saving [has] been blamed for and credited with over the years.
Love it or hate it, unless you live in Arizona or Hawaii, prepare to set your clocks forward an hour before you head to bed on Saturday. Worried about adjusting to the time change? NBC Bay Area has a few tips. Among them:
- Start going to bed earlier a few days before the change.
- Change your clocks earlier in the day on Saturday, and shift meals and other activities accordingly.
- Try to be productive on Sunday. Enjoy the sunshine.
Sleep experts say it should take only a day to adjust to a one-hour time change.
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