Preparing your body for Daylight Savings Time

By: Jessa Goddard
By: Jessa Goddard

KNOXVILLE (WVLT) – If you didn’t know, day light savings starts the second Sunday in March.

Most people will be ready to spring forward, but when the hands of your clock jump one hour, will your body be able to keep up?

When daylight savings time kicks in, we lose one hour of sleep, which we don't regain again until we clocks are turned back in November.

According to Baptist Sleep Institute Doctor Dewey McWhirter, it's just an hour, but it takes most people several days to adjust.

"It's not so much that you're losing an hour every night,” said Dr. McWhirter. “Your body is use to going to bed at a certain time, and it's a little bit hard for certain people's bodies to adjust to this new time."

Not only do we have to get up an hour early, we have to fight the body's natural sleep-wake cycle, regulated by daylight.

"Your body is kind of in tune to the light outside as long as you're spending a decent amount of time looking outside everyday,” said Dr. McWhirter. “When that has not really changed, your body is looking at the clock, it says one thing but your internal clock is saying a different thing to you."

Losing an hour's sleep is not easy for an already sleep-deprived nation, but there are some things you can do to ease the morning drag.

Doctor McWhirter recommends you make the time change incrementally beforehand.

You can start tonight, when you set your alarm clock.

"I think one of the best things you can do is you can say, ‘well I'm going to start tonight, and I'm going to go to bed 15 minutes earlier than I usually do."

Also, don't hit the snooze button on Sunday morning.

Get up at your regular time, or your body won't start to adjust.

Spend at least an hour outside on Sunday and try to take a short walk because both sunlight and exercise will help to naturally advance your body clock.

Some researchers have documented an increase in traffic accidents in the days following the shift to daylight savings time.

Even though it's temporary, it serves to illustrate one of the serious side effects that a lack of sleep can have.

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