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Spring Forward, March 8, 2020: Daylight Saving Time

March 4, 2020
Clock moving forward surrounded by spring daffodils

Sunday, March 8, 2020, 2:00 a.m. clocks spring forward 1 hour to 3:00 a.m. local daylight time. Sunrise and sunset are 1 hour later on March 8, 2020, than the day before.

Sunday, March 8, 2020, 2:00 a.m. clocks spring forward 1 hour to 3:00 a.m. local daylight time. Sunrise and sunset are 1 hour later on Mar 8, 2020, than the day before. Hawaii and most of Arizona do not move their clocks an hour ahead.


Moving our clocks in either direction changes the light cue for our 24-hour natural cycle or circadian rhythm. Sleeping at night and being awake during the day is an example of light-related circadian rhythm. The body’s master clock controls the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. The optic nerves relay information from the eyes to the brain. When there is less light at night, the nerves tell the brain to make more melatonin to make us sleepy.


Travel disrupts our circadian rhythms if we pass through different time zones. Compare DST to time changes when flying coast to coast, east to west, when we lose three hours. The earlier bedtime may cause difficulty falling asleep. Traveling west, we fall asleep easily but may have a difficult time waking up. Our biological clock eventually resets, but it may take a few days.


A general rule of thumb about adjusting to time changes is one day for each hour of time change. However, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) DST, like jetlag, can have a negative impact on sleep duration and quality and can take approximately five to seven days to adjust.


How can we help our bodies transition to the time change?

  • AASM recommends shifting our wake and sleep times 15 to 20 minutes earlier three days before March 8 DST.
  • Adults need at least 7 hours and children need 8 hours of sleep. Use the AASM bedtime calculator to identify appropriate sleep habits:
  • Do not consume alcohol or caffeine close to bedtime.
  • Turn off computers and cell phone devices several hours before bedtime.
  • Since light suppresses sleep-inducingmelatonin, keep the bedroom dark or wear an eye mask.
  • Create a sleep-friendly environment with calming rituals before bed like a hot bath, meditation or stretching routine.
  • Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.


Before DST, it was light outside when we woke up, which helped our internal clock to activate brain regions that are involved in stimulating alertness and energy. As the days move toward the first day of spring, March 19, early mornings will gain more minutes of natural light. Enjoy the shift of the season from winter to spring. If you head outdoors for early morning sunlight on March 8, your circadian rhythm will adjust quicker to the one-hour time change.


National Institute of General Medical Sciences

ABC News: How it affects your sleep

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