By Jena Williams

Waking_Up-hero

Daylight Savings Time (DST) begins Sunday, March 9 at 2 am. That’s when you get to “spring forward” with your clocks by an hour, consequently trading an hour of sleep for an extra hour of daylight.

As we collectively groan about the loss of an hour of sleep, DST does provide a platform to discuss the importance of sleep and how we as a society tend to minimize it.

You may have heard that studies have shown an increase in heart attacks and car wrecks after the time change.  As pointed out in this article by Richard N. Fogoros, M.D., DST does not necessarily cause these issues. Sleep disruption causes them. But since over 80 countries follow DST, it gives us an opportunity to quantify what happens when billions of people all over the world collectively disrupt their sleep.

A sufficient sleep routine is vital to good health. Let that statement sink in for a moment.

If you regularly trade sleep time for getting other things done, you may want to consider if you are really willing to trade your health to get those things done.

If you want to not become a statistic this weekend, prepare for the change ahead of time by adjusting your sleep schedule incrementally to reduce stress on your body. Sleep specialists suggest that you start by going to sleep 15 minutes earlier on Wednesday night and waking 15 minutes earlier on Thursday morning, adding 15 minutes per day until the hour changes on Sunday.

Another thought, watch out for all the other drivers on the road Monday morning who didn’t prepare. Good thing you’ll be ready for them!

More info:

Does Daylight Saving Time Cause Heart Attacks? By Richard N. Fogoros, M.D. link: http://heartdisease.about.com/od/heartattack/a/DST_MI.htm

Video on preparing for the spring forward time change: http://news.yahoo.com/video/preparing-daylight-saving-time-163036980.html

Sleep Tips from Web MD: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/spring-forward-with-10-sleep-tips