You Can Outsmart Daylight Savings Time

The clocks giveth, and the clocks taketh away. Months after you got that extra hour of sleep last fall, now you have to give it back. But while "springing forward" for daylight savings messes with us every year, you can actually mitigate the sudden shift with some light planning.

We're not wrong to dread daylight savings. The New England Journal of Medicine published a letter in 1996 showing an uptick in traffic accidents on the Monday after, even if further research has complicated that presumption. More demonstrably, we're foggier, sleepier, achier, and less focused in the first few days after we lose that hour. You can ease your body into the new schedule before the clocks make it necessary, though. All it takes is a little attention to sleep hygiene.

Being consistent in your evening routine is already beneficial to your mental and physical health. You can tweak your internal clock by going to sleep (or at least to bed) a few minutes earlier over a period of days. Do the same with your alarm in the morning, generally working in 15-minute increments, until you've adjusted to the new time ahead of the clocks. It's a similar method to preparing for jetlag after a big trip. Travelers have been using the Argonne anti-jetlag diet for decades to reset their bodies, though for daylight savings, you shouldn't feel that disoriented.

Nobody likes to start a workweek on the wrong foot, and the Monday after daylight savings is a prime opportunity to beat the odds. A few minutes' shift each day should save you a lot of trouble, while everyone else is still catching up.