Spring Forward
Posted by H. Schumaker on Mar 08, 2018

Spring Forward

Daylight Saving Time March 11, 2018

To say that March has come in like a lion is an understatement. For those of us in the Northeast, we have been bombarded with weather that has been less than spring-ish. I personally am in need of some vitamin D, a little natural mood enhancer, a virtual pick me upper courtesy of Mother Nature.

That being said, this weekend, on Saturday evening into Sunday morning, our clocks are adjusted for Daylight Saving Time. Yasssss! What does this mean? It means we get to spring forward, give away an hour in exchange for an extra hour of daylight in the evening. Longer days and shorter nights are knocking on our door. All super duper stuff - with the exception of losing the hour…ugh.

The loss of the hour is something that impacts all of us - from children to adults. I personally have to combat that loss and do a little prep work to prepare for the loss of those 60 minutes. And given that I am the ‘family manager’ I will work the next couple of days to make sure that the transition and the impact of that transition is minimized with my family. And why not share my tips and tricks with you and maybe it will ease the transition somewhat in your families. Sharing is caring, folks!

Daylight Saving Time Explained

So I knew what Daylight Saving Time was in general. But I found out that I didn’t REALLY know what it was. Daylight Saving Time started in Europe in 1907 when a gentleman by the name of William Willet lobbied Parliament for the change in time, explaining that people’s enjoyment of sunlight would increase and it would save money on fuel. President Woodrow Wilson made it a law in 1918 only to have it repealed within the first year. The time change became official in 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson signed a law that made the start and end dates the same nationally.

Effects of Daylight Saving Time

The spring forward effect of Daylight Saving Time is not fabulous. Losing the hour of sleep upsets our circadian rhythm - that’s our 24-hour natural cycle. Basically our internal clock on the inside is totally confused and gets out of sync with our normal day to night cycle. Similar to the jet lag you get from traveling cross country or across multiple time zones. Oh. Joy.

For those of you that get 8 hours of sleep a night, the effects are not so bad. If you are sleep-deprived as is (that would be moi), it’s not so good. Add in if you consume alcohol or caffeine close to bedtime and you’ve set yourself up for a bumpy transition. Super. I can hardly wait for Saturday night.

Tips for adapting to Daylight Saving Time

Don’t despair - I do have some tips for you on combating the effects of Daylight Saving Time. They say it takes a day for each hour of time change so with a little bit of forethought you might save yourself some struggles. Some of them I’ve tried, some of them I haven’t but it’s worth considering.

Light matters.

Light is the biggest factor when it comes to Daylight Saving Time. Light suppresses the secretion of melatonin. Melatonin induces sleep. Expose yourself to the light as much as possible in the upcoming days while you’re awake. Get outside - especially in the morning and at the end of the day. The more connected you are to natural light and dark cycles the easier it is to adjust to the time change. Conversely, turn away from the light when it’s dark outside. Don’t turn on the bathroom light when you get up in the middle of the night (guilty). Try to avoid artificial light (iphones, laptops, etc.) an hour or two before you go to bed. Literally staying in the dark when it’s dark can go a long way to reestablishing a normal 24-hour natural cycle and reduce the effects of Daylight Saving Time.  And with a little bit of luck, help you sleep like a baby.

Fresh air + Sunlight = Sleep like a baby

Good sleep hygiene.

This is a new term to me but it basically means what we do to create a sleep-friendly environment. Reducing and/or eliminating alcohol or caffeine, exercising late afternoon or early evening, eye masks, etc. can all enhance your body’s ability to not only fall asleep but also stay asleep. Additionally, going to bed at the same time and getting out of bed at the same time every day is also a significant way to help readjust your internal clock.

Practicing sleep hygiene

Get a few extra z’s.

In the days leading up to Daylight Saving Time, try getting a few extra z’s. This is huge too when it comes to children. Thursday night try going to bed 15 minutes earlier than usual, Friday 30 minutes earlier and then Saturday night, 45 minutes earlier than normal. Also, use those transition times in the morning - get up 15 minutes earlier on Friday, 30 minutes on Saturday, 45 minutes on Sunday. A little bit of pre-planning can make the transition almost painless.

Daylight Savings Prep Chez Schumaker

As I said, I love the longer days, more sunlight, being outside, all of it. But this transition is less than lovely for me. And given that I’ll have a house full of trolls on Saturday night I will be doing what I can to ease the transition for all of us.

I am going to try to go to bed earlier the next couple of nights. Given that we were bombarded with over a foot of snow last night into today, I am going to do what I can to simply exhaust my body physically and hopefully have no problem getting some much needed rest over the next day or two. Given that I spent a good hour plus shoveling with still more to do, I am hopeful that the fresh air also does much to invigorate me and exhaust me at the same time.

18" of snow shoveled - Check

I promise nothing when it comes to limiting my Titos. Peepers, I have three children ages 15, 17, 18 and three dogs and a husband with a very stressful job. I have earned my Titos and soda at night - probably several times over.

I always turn the bathroom light on. Mostly because I’m afraid of tripping over someone’s clothes that were left in a heap on the bathroom floor and hurting myself. Which means I then can’t go to the gym. But I am going to make an effort to do a quick sweep of the bathroom before bed to assure that the path is clear should I get up.

Thankfully, we all have somewhere to go and something to do on Sunday morning. It just so happens that we are all gym bound, training bound, etc. and will be up and out of the house early Sunday morning. Combine that with a little outdoor Schumaker Family lacrosse in the driveway in the afternoon, I am hopeful that all of us will be in la-la land nice and early Sunday evening. And there will be mandatory phone shutdown by 8:00 p.m. (Sorry babies. NOT!)

9:11 p.m. Out like a light

And always always always I am reminded of how precious time is. That it is not something to take for granted. That there are so many that would give anything for one hour. For time lost. Time is not something to be wasted but rather treasured.

Wishing still for one more day with you

There are so many wonderful things that come with Daylight Savings Time. Lots and lots of good. But it does take a toll on our body, has emotional and physical effects that can take us a couple of days to adjust to. Get some extra rest, get outside, shed some light on the situation and when night falls, keep yourself in the dark. Be aware of time and the gifts that it gives us. How precious it is because it will not always be there. So rest up, my peepers, rest up! We’ve got lots of living and laughing and loving in store for us this spring!

In like a lion, out like a lamb