Change Those Batteries Too!

After 19 weeks on Pacific Standard Time (PST), this Sunday we return to Pacific Daylight Time (PDT). On Sunday March 14, we ‘spring forward’ an hour at 2:00 am in the morning.

Changing the clock does not create extra daylight but instead shifts both sunset and sunrise an hour later. Sunset just moved past 6:00 pm in Standard Time and starting on the 12th, it will be after 7:00 pm. Sunrise has been approaching 6:30 am lately and now will shift to 7:30 am.

Do you feel more tired after shifting to Daylight Time? You are not alone. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) that represents sleep scientists and clinicians, has found more than half of Americans usually feel tired after the change to Daylight Time.

On the Monday following the time change, studies have found that there is an increase in traffic crashes as well as more workplace injuries compared to other Mondays. A Swedish study found the risk of heart attack increases in the days following the time change.

Even though the circadian rhythm gets disrupted by the PST to PDT and vice versa changes, the impacts fade away in a matter of days. In fact, some feel happier after the time change thanks to the longer evenings of daylight.

But wait! Didn’t the Washington state legislature authorize keeping the state on daylight time? Yes, they did.  So did Oregon and California.  And our neighbors to the north in British Columbia will follow suit if the entire west coast stays on daylight time year round.

However, only the U.S. Congress can authorize one or more states to stay either permanently in daylight or standard time like Arizona, the Florida panhandle and Hawaii.  Congress has a full plate of legislative action, and  this issue is not likely to be addressed anytime in the near future. So our twice annual tradition of switching from daylight to standard time in early November, and back to daylight time on the second Sunday in March continues.

Here are some ways to help address the clock change. To help adjust your body clock, wake up a little earlier in the week prior to the time change to make it easier to rise on time Monday morning. That practice also goes for children. Eat a healthy breakfast on Monday morning, informing your body that it is the start of the day. And go for a walk in the daylight since it helps adjust the body clock.

Our fire agencies also want to remind us that the change in time is also a good time to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon dioxide detectors. Too many fatal fire tragedies occur because the smoke detector(s) have a dead battery.

In addition, the National Weather Service (NWS) reminds us to also change backup batteries in your all-hazard NOAA Weather Radios. If you are not familiar with these life savers for the cost of a pair of shoes, visit the NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards home page including how these devices can alert you to not only immediate life-saving weather warnings like tornadoes and flash floods, but also emergency messages from your local North Sound authorities for events like hazardous releases and wildfire warnings. The NWS Seattle forecast office serves the North Sound and has a fine NOAA Weather Radio page with more local information to help you.

So this Saturday night, remember to move your clocks ahead one hour. Your cell phones and computers should make the time change themselves. Perhaps this time shift will be our last if Congress takes action on this issue this year!

North Sound Meteorologist Ted Buehner worked more than 40 years for the National Weather Service (NWS) from 1977 to 2018. He is now an Everett Post Media team member. Together with Everett Post Weather Minute Podcasts, he provides morning and afternoon commute traffic and weather updates on both KRKO and KXA Radio, and sports reporting on KRKO.