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Don't Forget to Spring Forward! Daylight Saving Time 2012 Begins Tonight

During the wee hours of Sunday we'll spring ahead by winding the clocks forward one hour.

Tonight, while most of us are sleeping, time will spring forward.

At 2 a.m. Sunday morning, daylight saving time begins, moving our clocks ahead one hour and costing us an hour of sleep.

Daylight saving time has changed in the past few years. Though we used to spring forward on the first Sunday in April and fall back on last Sunday in October, Congress changed the date several years ago, adding more daylight saving time to the calendar. This year, it will run from March 11 until Nov. 4.

The only states that don't do daylight saving time are Arizona and Hawaii. Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands also buck the trend.

How to Cope:

Emory University sleep expert Ann Rogers offers the following tips for adjusting to daylight saving time.  

  • Keep a consistent schedule, arising at your usual time and going to bed at your usual time.  If you're tired, going to bed a few minutes earlier on Saturday night could be helpful. 
  • Be cautious driving to work on Monday morning. Studies have shown that traffic accidents and fatalities spike on the Monday following the time change. Workplace injuries also increase.
  • Light is the principal environmental cue for sleep and wakefulness, so expose yourself and your family to bright light, outdoors, on Saturday and Sunday.  Exposure to natural light when you first get up in the morning is one of the most powerful ways to increase alertness and re-set your circadian clock. 
  • Keep children on their usual schedule for sleeping, meals and naps.
  • Make sure everyone in the household, both parents and children, are getting enough sleep year round.

Brief History:

According to the Huffington Post, Benjamin Franklin has been credited with the idea of daylight saving time, but Britain and Germany first began using the concept in World War I to conserve energy. The idea was that stretching out the daylight hours would decrease demand for electric lighting. The U.S. used daylight saving time for a brief period during the war, but it didn't become widely accepted in the U.S. until after World War II.

Controversy:

Daylight saving time has its critics—like this Washington Post blogger, who says the tradition "kills people, it seems to be an energy-loser, and it leads to a slight uptick in road accidents in early March."

What do you think about Daylight Saving Time? Necessary for society, or just a big pain in the you-know-what? Tell Elk Grove Patch readers in the comments.

Additional reporting by Elk Grove Patch Staff.

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