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Preparing for daylight saving time

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Doctors say people should already be thinking about the start of daylight saving time.

People will “spring forward” with their clocks at 2 a.m. Sunday. 

Dr. Praveen Vohra is the director of the Sleep Center at Ascension St. Vincent Heart Center. He said people should start managing the sleep schedule change this week. “Maybe five to seven days before, start going to bed 15 minutes earlier every night. So in four nights or so, you’ll be going to bed about one hour earlier. That will help you adjust to daylight saving time faster,” Vohra said.

The doctor said a gradual change to a sleep schedule can help people’s bodies adjust to losing an hour of sleep on Saturday night. Vohra says not getting enough sleep can be bad for your health.

“Many studies have shown that daylight saving time is associated with an increase in heart diseases, such as atrial fibrillation, mood disorders, such as depression, learning issues, vigilance issues and an increase in accidents. So there are several negative impacts of daylight saving time on health because of the impact on the circadian rhythm or night and day cycle for the brain,” Vohra said.

(Photo courtesy AP News – Clocks spring forward on Sunday)

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, traffic crashes increase by around 8% on the Monday after daylight saving time starts because of the loss of sleep. Doctors say the adjustment can be especially tough on kids and can cause a lack of concentration for a lot of people.

“So some people can adjust to it daily, fast. They can adjust to it for a couple of weeks. But, there are people who can take several weeks to get used to it. They can feel tired and fatigued, and affect their mood for weeks to two and a half months. So, it can be longer than a week or two,” the doctor said.

Last year, the U.S. Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021, which would make daylight saving time the official standard time and eliminate “‘”falling back” altogether. However, the U.S. House of Representatives never voted on the bill.

Last week, the bill was reintroduced in the Senate and a similar bill was introduced in the House. If passed by Congress and approved by President Joe Biden, then “spring forward” and “fall back” would end.