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Wellbody Expert: Prof. Michael Vitiello Shares "Spring Forward" Survival Tips
On Sunday, March 9, 2014, we'll “spring ahead” and return to daylight saving time. What's the best way to prepare for the year's worst Monday morning and recalibrate sleep cycles?
In the short essay below, sleep researcher Michael V. Vitiello, a University of Washington professor, shares advice and his perpsective on the time change. Prof. Vitiello serves as co-director of the Center for Research in the Management of Sleep Disturbance and editor-in-chief (for the Americas) of Sleep Medicine Reviews. He is a content specialist for Wellbody Academy.
Originally proposed by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, (although not adopted until World War I in an effort to save energy) daylight saving time is observed in most of North America and Europe.
This means that the twice annual changing of clock time is again upon us and most of us will lose an hour of clock time as time “springs forward”, which means most of us will have one less hour of sleep when we awaken on Monday morning, March 10th.
This change will occur automatically for most computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones, but will not be biologically automatic for any human beings.Waking up on Monday morning may not be so easy as our biological rhythms continue to be what they were on Sunday and so being shorted an hour of sleep and awakening into a darker environment may be problematic for many.
Research has shown that the spring ahead is associated with significant increases in motor vehicle accidents and heart attacks, suggesting that our biology is exquisitely sensitive to shifts in the timing of our circadian rhythms versus the natural environment.
Those who may adversely experience the effects of springing ahead may want to try and get as much exposure to natural light as possible and increase their levels of exercise/activity as much as possible in the days following the return to daylight saving time as these factors are known to help re-synchronize the body’s biological clock with the external environment.
Experience the Slumbertorium at Professor's Wellbody's Academy of Health & Fitness to learn how to get your REM on!