Daylight saving begins Sunday, followed by Groggy Monday
By Dale McFeatters
My, this year is going fast. Sunday is the start of daylight saving time, when the clocks, except in Arizona and Hawaii and assorted U.S. territories, are set forward an hour, effectively costing us an hour of sleep, a small sacrifice for the extra hour of sunlight at the end of the day.
Sleep experts say it should only take us 24 to 48 hours to acclimate to the change, but some obsessives have been training by eating dinner and going to bed 10 to 15 minutes early each night.
Most of us are not that organized or motivated, so we'll just feel groggy for a day or so. But some studies have shown that the switch is not entirely risk-free, citing slight increases in heart attacks and auto and workplace accidents in the days immediately following the time change.
Technically, the clock is moved forward at 2 a.m. Sunday, but no one's going to check if you cheat and reset your clocks the night before. Congress has tinkered with daylight saving since it was first instituted during World War I.
In 2007, Congress settled on the second Sunday in March and the first Sunday in November for the beginning and end, respectively, of our annual DST, making it a month longer than the old system. The universal mnemonic for DST is ``Spring forward, fall back."
Speaking of the year going fast, you did know that when the clocks are changed Sunday, spring will already be 11 days old. Traditionalists say that spring doesn't begin until the vernal equinox, on March 20. But the National Weather Service says spring begins on March 1, and we're with the weather service on this one, since, depending on where you live, spring can't come too soon.
The agencies that worry about our welfare suggest you change the batteries in your smoke detectors as you go around the house resetting your clocks. Do that, and then we'll reconvene in this space in the run-up to Sunday, Nov. 4, to fall back.
Meanwhile, enjoy the long evenings.
Dale McFeatters is a Scripps Howard News Service columnist.