Daylight Saving Time Starts Soon: Here’s How to Spring Forward Like an Expert
On the second Sunday of March, the clocks adjust by an hour, skipping ahead to mark the start of daylight saving time.
Daylight saving time, or DST, represents 65% of the year, and sets a schedule where the sun sets later in the day. It begins with “spring forward,” on the second Sunday of March, and ends on the first Sunday of November.
In 2023, daylight saving time starts on Sunday, March 12, at 2 a.m., and ends on Sunday, November 5, at 2 a.m.
Though the time change is minimal, like a flight from Chicago to New York, for anyone with kids, pets or a grueling schedule, that loss of an hour can be brutal.
Sunday night, trying to get to bed an hour earlier than you otherwise would may be difficult. "Expect that sleep initiation might be a little difficult," shares Dr. Chris Winter, sleep neurologist, sleep advisor to Mattress Firm, and host of the "Sleep Unplugged" podcast. Regardless of when you get to sleep, though, Winter says that it's important to set your target morning wake-up time. "Maintaining the wake time should be a priority. That usually keeps the transition pretty short."
Read on to learn more tips about DST and get expert tips on how to plan ahead and make small schedule adjustments to minimize sleep loss when you lose that hour.
What Time Do You Change the Clocks for Daylight Saving Time?
At the start of daylight saving time, you’ll see your smart devices change time at 2 a.m., when the clocks spring forward to 3 a.m. You can reset any analog clocks the night before, so that you don’t oversleep the next morning. Come November, clocks “fall back” at 2 a.m. Night owls love the end of DST, when they gain an hour of time, whether it’s an extra hour out at a bar, or curled up reading a book.
Who Controls Daylight Saving Time?
Though many attribute the rules of daylight saving time to the US Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology, it is actually the Department of Transportation that regulates DST and time zones.
How Long Does Daylight Saving Time Last?
DST lasts just under 240 days, starting on the second Sunday of March, and ending on the first Sunday of November.
DST is now in effect for 238 days, or about 65% of the year, although Congress has retained the right to revert to the prior law, should the change prove unpopular, or if energy savings are not significant.
Why Is It Harder to Lose an Hour?
Both the spring and fall time changes can be difficult, but bedtime, especially for parents, can feel tough when you lose an hour. Suddenly, it’s 8 p.m., even if it still feels like 7 p.m., and many children, particularly those who have strict bedtimes, are resistant to that earlier time. That change can roll over to the next morning, making wake-up time hard for anyone who wants that extra hour of sleep.
If you're struggling to get up in the morning, Winter has advice. "Set an extra alarm far away from the bed," he advises. And if you worry you might laze anyway, get yourself out into the world. "Plan to meet someone that Sunday morning. Sometimes the expectation that someone is waiting for you at the restaurant or gym can motivate people."
Tips To Make Daylight Saving Time Easier
Start Early: To prepare for the change, start to nudge your timeline earlier a few days ahead of the “spring forward.” Move bedtime and wake-up time up by 15-minute increments, starting four days before Sunday, so that you will be a full hour ahead by Sunday.
Get Morning Light: To help set your circadian rhythm to the new time, be sure to get outside and expose your body to morning sunshine when you wake up. Similarly, dim your blue light at night, so your body knows that it’s time to wind down.
Limit Your Naps: If you’re unsuccessful in getting to bed earlier, you may be tired. Naps are OK—for you and your kids—but try to limit your own naps to 20 minutes. Longer naps will get you into a full sleep cycle, and could leave you groggy or delay bedtime at night.
Avoid Late Caffeine: If you’re tired, it’s tempting to grab a quick coffee. Try to limit caffeine to the mornings, or, at least, to no later than six hours before bedtime.
Keep a Consistent Bedtime: As soon as you’ve finished adjusting to the time change, stick to your bedtime and wakeup times. Consistent timing is one of the best things you can do for your sleep. If your schedule needs additional goal posts, aim to exercise early, limit late-night food to small, healthy snacks, ideally with tryptophan or melatonin, and don’t use your bed for anything but sleep and sex.
Don’t Get Discouraged: If you, your kids, your pets or all of the above are keeping you up late, don’t fret: You can always get things back on track. Aim to minimize social plans for the first few days after DST starts, and prioritize getting outside in the mornings to wake yourself up. And remember: The clocks will fall back again in just seven short months!