Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the practice of setting our clocks ahead one hour in the spring and back again in the fall from standard time. This practice is devised to take advantage of more natural light during the summertime and reduce the amount of energy needed for artificial lighting in the evenings.
“Spring forward, fall back” is an easy term to remind us which way to turn the clock in each season. Why do they say we lose an hour in spring only to regain it in the fall when we still have the full 24 hours in which to spend our days?
Less than 40% of countries in the world participate in DST and since day length is negligible around the equator, most tropical territories do not use DST. In the Northern hemisphere, countries start DST throughout March into the first week of April and end between September and November. In the Southern hemisphere, it is just the opposite.
Germany, is the first country to implement DST nationwide in 1916, calling it “Summerzeit,” whereas, the town of Thunder Bay in Ontario, Canada has implemented DST regularly since in 1908. In the UK, DST is called “Summer Time” or British Summer Time (BST.)
Today, most clocks are set one hour ahead or back. But some countries vary the time considerably, using 20-, 30- or 40-minute increments and some up to 2 hours. Some regions of the same countries don’t participate at all in DST preferring to stay on standard time the whole year. For example, in the U.S., Arizona and Hawaii do not participate in DST and Indiana already has two time zones!
So what does all this mean and what do we get out of it?
How does the time change affect you?
So many of us suffer from the internal body clock adjustment and have trouble getting up or going to bed at our usual hours. And some people use it as a semi-plausible excuse to be late for work without too much aggravation once or twice a year. Our health can be affected by the time change and studies have shown an increase in heart attacks and road accidents right after the spring time change. Others are affected by the fall change with seasonal or winter depression and weight gain. And no wonder! When it becomes colder and gets so dark so early in the day, all we want to do is stay inside, warm & snug under a thick blacket with hearty foods.
So What Can We Do About It?
There are some simple ways of making it easier to handle the hour change:
- Set your alarm to progressively wake up five minutes earlier than usual every day leading up to the DST switch, making it easier to get out of bed Monday morning.
- Eat a healthy breakfast…food also tells your body it is the start of the day.
- Light, and especially sunlight, helps to adjust your body clock. Keep your curtains or shades cracked more than usual to let more light in.
- Help children adjust by changing bedtime to a little bit earlier the week before the time change.
- If you are not into winter sports, find an indoor fitness program to keep you moving for at least an hour every day. You can break up the hour by exercising three times a day for 20 minutes! With increased calories and decreased movement during winter months it’s a surefire way to add unwanted pounds. So keep moving!
Post your comments on how you are affected by the time change overall, what you look forward to about it, and what you do to help avoid winter blues right here on the blog or in my Live Vibrant, Live Awesome Facebook Community page by joining here!