Caution: Spring Ahead One Hour

By: Katie Stukey Email
By: Katie Stukey Email
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Daylight saving time returns this weekend as we move the clock ahead one hour and with its start, we lose that precious hour of sleep. There are a number of ways to get through the change mostly unaffected and most work well year ‘round.

We're already a sleep-deprived society and every minute of sleep counts, so to make ourselves fall asleep on cue and stay asleep, here's a possible timetable to follow. Six hours before bedtime stop your caffeine intake. Cut off alcohol four hours before bedtime. Once bedtime comes, it's lights out and cell phones off.

It's best to start preparing ahead of time, especially if you have young children. Wake up earlier, have them take quick naps if at all, keep meal schedules, power down, check the shades and if possible, take morning walks.

When we talked about setting the clocks back in the fall, the Methodist Hospital doctor we spoke to said many adults claim they can get by on four, five or six hours of sleep, but she said to truly stay healthy long-term we need seven to nine hours.

One idea to find out how much sleep you naturally need is to take note of your days off where you can go without the alarm. When you wake up, time how long you slept. Experts say that's a good indication of how much sleep you should be getting.

In the big picture, one lost hour of sleep for one night isn't life changing, or is it? A University of British Columbia study shows fatal accidents spike in the days following the start of daylight saving time due to the sudden return to darkness in the morning.

We're more active in the evening, so less time using energy at home, but more money in the gas tank to move around to our extra evening activities. This is just the 10th year that daylight saving time stretches for eight months, two months longer than when it first started.

A report this week out from Tufts University says those additional weeks of daylight saving pumped $1 billion into the convenience store industry. It's better business for golf courses too with an extra $400 million in revenue a year. Grill and charcoal companies claim they sell an additional $200 million worth thanks to that extra hour. And how about tourism? One report from Northern Ireland claims daylight saving could boost tourism dollars two percent as tourists stay out later.

But for many, the bad outweighs the good. There's a legislative effort currently underway in Utah to make it the third state to forgo daylight saving time.


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