(Victor Valley) – It is that time of year again – time to change the clocks around the house. Daylight saving time (DST) ends at 2 a.m. this Sunday, November 6, which means we move our clocks back one hour and return to standard time. The good news is we get an extra hour of sleep. The bad news: it will get dark even earlier in the evening. I can hear the grumbling now.
The switch began as part of the nation’s efforts to save energy, although some critics say it’s a hassle that doesn’t end up saving that much power.
The seven-month period of daylight saving time is mandated by governments which began implementing the time switch during World Wars I and II to save energy and resources for the war effort. From World War II until recently, daylight saving in the U.S. ran from April until mid-October.
But in 2007, Congress adjusted daylight saving time to begin three weeks earlier and end one week later, a move they hoped would help save energy. At the time, they pointed to the fact that longer daylight in the evening hours reduced people’s need to turn on lights in their homes at night.
Daylight Saving Time – for the U.S. and its territories – is NOT observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and by most of Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona).
Naturally, sleep experts recommend going to bed at your previously scheduled time in spite of the time change, in order to keep from starting your week sleep-deprived. They also suggest using the time change to evaluate and reset your sleeping habits.
Three years ago, Swedish researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that the rate of heart attacks fell on the Monday after the end of daylight saving time in the fall but spiked during the three weekdays following its start in the spring.
Sleep is the presumed link between these twice-a-year heart attack trends. Insufficient sleep wreaks havoc with the body’s hormones and increases the levels of inflammatory chemicals that contribute to heart disease. Not enough sleep also keeps the fight-or-flight circuits of the nervous system on high alert.
For the sake of your heart and overall safety, use the bonus hour you get this weekend for sleep.
So, remember to set ALL of your clocks back one hour when you go to bed tonight, including the one in your car, on the microwave and elsewhere. Most high-tech devices like computers and smart phones do the chore automatically, but be sure to double-check them in the morning.
Daylight saving time will return March 11, 2012.