Your Foolproof Guide to Daylight Savings Time

  • By Meredith Schneider
  • May 26
Your Foolproof Guide to Daylight Savings Time
  • Daylight Savings Time (DST) happens on the second Sunday in March. In 2021, it will occur at 2am on March 14.
  • Your body may take some time to adjust to DST, and that’s OK. But it is important to pay attention to symptoms. 
  • We have some tips to help prevent prolonged issues and to better prepare you for DST.

Your alarm is going off, but it’s way too dark and surely it is not time to wake up. You blink your eyes open, just barely enough to reach over and hit “snooze,” then roll back over for a few more minutes of sleep.

But you actually didn’t hit snooze. And it’s not too dark to be time to wake up. Now you’re running late, panicking about what to prioritize. Your morning is all off and you’ll probably be late to that weekly meeting — even if it is in your home office via video chat.

Daylight Savings Time (DST): ausing widespread panic twice a year (in most of America) since 1918. Lucky for us, the entire debacle takes place so early on Sunday morning, it’s still practically Saturday night. For many people with Monday-Friday jobs and school schedules, this allows a little bit of a buffer to re-enter your working life having taken advantage of a slower Sunday. But Daylight Savings Time can cause imbalance issues for days after it occurs.

So, why am I setting my clock to a different time?

While many people believe that Daylight Savings Time originated because of farmers and their need to work with the rhythm of the sun for harvest season, that is actually not entirely the case. In fact, farmers were so vehemently against implementing Daylight Savings Time that it wasn’t officially integrated until April 12, 1966. Apparently, losing an hour of morning light rearranged their market schedule and hurried many crops.

The concept was originally introduced by Benjamin Franklin, who suggested it to conserve energy as he introduced technological advancements in electricity and lighting. Our modern version of Daylight Savings Time is said to have been developed in the late 1800s by an entomologist in New Zealand, who specified the time shift based on his summer bug hunting affinity. It wasn’t officially adopted until many years later in 1916 when Germany needed to conserve fuel for World War I. The United States adapted it shortly after. While the concept itself is still largely debated – scientists aren’t even sure if it’s had a true or positive effect on energy consumption – Daylight Savings Time is in effect throughout the majority of the United States (save for Hawaii, Arizona, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and in 70 countries all over the world, including New Zealand, parts of South America, and Europe. Because of their location near the equator, many countries have not found the need to implement a change in time.

When should I change my clocks?

For those of us who find ourselves in a region affected by Daylight Savings Time, when should we create time to shift our clocks (and mindsets), and what should we do to prepare for it? The second Sunday in March has been delegated by The Uniform Time Act of 1966 as the official day to set your clocks forward by one hour. Though the time change officially happens at 2am (so at 2, you’d set your clocks to 3am), we would definitely advise setting your important clocks before heading to bed. This could include your stove/microwave setup, any important appliances (do you want your coffee to be ready?), your alarm clock, and your vehicle. Be sure to prioritize based on which clock you’ll be relying on in the coming days, since it can take a while to recover from the change.

The first Sunday in November serves as the autumn DST counterpart, when you get to set your clocks back, and possibly enjoy an extra hour of sleep, if you’re lucky!

**Note: Make sure to adjust all of your clocks over the first couple of days. You do not want to turn into the person who waits until Daylight Savings Time rolls around again 6 months later and you conveniently don’t have to change it anymore.

Why do I feel so tired and out of whack around DST?

Circadian rhythms are daily (24 hour) cycles that serve as the body’s internal clock to regulate sleep, productivity, and more. Many species of animals and plants create community and sustainability around their own circadian rhythms.. The sleeping cycle is one of the most important aspects of this rhythm, and is certainly one of the most well-known. When disrupted or adjusted, it can really change the way you are able to approach your day.

Daylight Savings Time can have the same effect on a person as jet lag. Jet lag affects people who are traveling across multiple time zones and have to adjust to the difference. Any time of adjustment can be difficult on the body, especially when it interferes with a person’s natural circadian rhythm and the light’s effect on your process. And while irritability, exhaustion, and mild discomfort can all be associated with the change in time, you can’t rule out worse issues, like the development of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. Lack of sleep can really take a toll on your immune system, which can trigger a negative response in your body’s ability to fight outside stressors and infections.

There is actually science to support that the particular disruption in circadian rhythm associated with spring DST could lead to cardiovascular health issues, especially within the first few days. Humans are most vulnerable to sleep deprivation during this time. (If this doesn’t convince you of the importance of a regular sleep schedule, I don’t know what will.)

How should I prepare for DST?

Preparing for Daylight Savings Time can be a self-care act and ritual in itself. In the days leading up to it and directly after, engage with your natural ecosystem. Breathe fresh air. Going outside and getting some sun is key, and you can certainly take your yoga or other morning exercise routine outdoors. While enjoying that sunshine, be sure to wear sunglasses. All types of light can cause outstanding eyesight issues. (It turns out “everything in moderation” is quite important advice.)

In that same vein, reducing your amount of exposure to blue light around bedtime will allow you to close and rest your eyes more easily in the absence of visual distraction and stimulation. Timing computer and screen usage so that you have around two hours before bedtime without it can do wonders for helping you to improve your circadian rhythm and help you get better sleep. This is important year-round, and we suggest blue light blocking glasses especially for screen viewing at night.

For those of you struggling with sleep imbalance or lack of sleep, melatonin is a wonderful natural supplement to check out. It complements your natural levels of melatonin to ensure an easy and restful sleep. We found these incredible raspberry melatonin gummies that taste delightful and have us in a deep sleep within an hour of taking just one. These couldn’t come more highly recommended, especially when Daylight Savings Time on the horizon.

Cortisol-conscious movement is key to a healthy functioning body all the time, but especially when outside stressors are playing a big factor in your life. Engaging in yoga or some extent of stretching in the morning can help to warm your body up so that your joints and muscles are less likely to lock up during the day. Movement is just as much a shield against sickness as taking vitamin C gummies, your daily dose of Superbeets Immune, routine checkups with a general practitioner, and hot tea on a cold day.

Check out more ways to boost your quality of sleep here, and be sure to peruse our sleep hacks at!

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.