How to Deal with the Daylight Savings Time Shift

This coming weekend a great deal of us in North America will “spring forward” thanks to the Daylight Savings Time shift. Many people bemoan the change, saying we need to stick with one set of regular time (Standard Time) or the one we will be switching to, offering several arguments to support their case.1
I am able to deal with the shift – even with kids – for one simple reason: I don’t fight my body clock.

I don’t change my waking and sleeping habits on a wholesale level. I don’t make the quick shift to my internal clock.

If you’re an early riser and usually get up at 5 a.m., get up at 6 a.m. instead. Sure, you can slowly work your way back to 5 a.m. (especially since with Daylight Savings Time you have more weeks to make that happen), but don’t flip the switch ahead one hour like you do with the clocks in your house. That’s fighting your body clock, and you’re taking energy away from where it could be better spent to do so.

If you’re a night owl, the easiest thing you can do is go to bed when the clock says it’s your usual bedtime. You’re going to have an easier time making the shift because daylight arrives that much “sooner” now, so if you hit the sack one hour earlier then you’ll feel like you’re ready to wake up an hour earlier as well. You don’t necessarily need to get up earlier, but you’ll feel as if you can and not compromise your efficiency and effectiveness.

We tend to get too caught up in the “springing forward” component of the Daylight Savings Time shift (just as we do when we seemingly get that hour of sleep back in Autumn). But we don’t really lose or gain an hour of sleep when these shifts happen; our day simply shifts. How we use those hours in the day may change, but it doesn’t have to happen on one fell swoop. In fact, my making it happen in one fell swoop you run the risk of making it more of a grind than a shift.

I think it’s better to lean into this changing of hours rather than attack it with a “full speed ahead” mentality. You’ll avoid the fight with your body clock, you’ll avoid the stress of the shift itself, and you’ll avoid a drop in your overall productivity.

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1 Dr. Drang has excellent thoughts on Daylight Savings Time that are well worth reading.