Mar 8, 2024 - News

Daylight saving time is upon us

Illustration of a classic analog alarm clock reading 10:00 with shifty, heavy eyes inside the digits

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

On Sunday at 2am, we "spring ahead" to daylight saving time, even though many sleep experts wish we wouldn't.

Why it matters: Members of health groups favor standard time over daylight saving time, because they say it's more aligned with our body clocks.

Zoom in: That means sunrise in San Francisco will go from 6:33am to 7:33am, and sunset in San Francisco will move from 6:10pm to 7:10pm.

State of play: Lawmakers, including some in California, have pushed to make daylight saving time permanent.

  • California state legislators have introduced legislation in the Assembly and Senate in recent months that would make standard time permanent, The New York Times reports.
  • California voters approved a 2018 ballot initiative to ditch daylight saving time, but federal law says states must have the approval of Congress to adopt year-round daylight saving time.

Between the lines: Daylight is not "saved" per se, but it is shifted to remain later in the evening.

  • In spring and summer, days are naturally longer than they are in the fall and winter (when we're on standard time), regardless of the time zone.

What they're saying: "Research shows that the abrupt seasonal shift in time disrupts circadian rhythms, leading to sleep disturbances, increased fatigue and even a heightened risk of heart attacks and strokes," says James A. Rowley, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

  • He adds that right after the clocks shift in March, there's "a spike in workplace accidents, road accidents and medical errors due to sleep deprivation and cognitive impairment."

To avoid the abrupt hour of sleep loss on Sunday, sleep experts recommend that you …

  • Gradually adjust bedtimes and daily activities — like mealtimes or exercise routines — to 15 to 20 minutes earlier, starting a few nights before the clocks switch. This is especially important if you have kids or pets.
  • Set the clock ahead one hour Saturday night, and then go to bed at your "normal" time, to get ahead of the change.
  • Aim to get 7+ hours of sleep.
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