(CNN)In the fall, waking up to realize Daylight Saving Time ended overnight might feel great — especially when you get that extra hour of sleep.
In the spring, the transition is reversed, with the panic of waking up unexpectedly an hour late for whatever is scheduled that morning.
Yep, it's Daylight Saving Time again.
Daylight Saving Time starts on the second Sunday in March at 2 a.m. and ends on the first Sunday in November at 2 a.m in the United States. This year, that's March 14, when we set our clocks ahead one hour, through November 1, when we set them back one hour. And those of you in Europe aren't exempt, but you will have to wait two more weeks for March 28.
However, not everyone observes the tradition in the US — Hawaii and Arizona don't — nor do China and Japan. About 70 countries participate in this twice yearly time-changing exercise.
Daylight Saving Time is an enigma for many people, who wonder why we do it. Although it's intended to save energy and make better use of daylight, it's recognizable to most as something they might forget, which could cost them accidentally sleeping in or waking up less rested than they would have hoped.
Rather than struggle through the biannual switch, Dr. Shalini Paruthi advises people to prepare for the change, so it's not so disruptive to our sleep schedules.
Adults should get at least seven hours of sleep for good health, productivity and daytime alertness, said Paruthi, co-director of the Sleep Medicine and Research Center at St. Luke's Hospital in Chesterfield, Missouri.
"Even though the clock will shift, it doesn't mean that our sleep duration should shift," she said.
It's important to see the springtime change not as losing an hour of sleep but shifting your sleep habits to make up for that hour, she added.
Depending on when you realize Daylight Saving Time is coming, there are a few ways Paruthi suggests you prepare:
- About a week in advance: Start shifting the time you go to sleep and wake up by 10 minutes earlier each night and each morning.
- Three days in advance: Start shifting the time you go to sleep and wake up by 20 minutes earlier each night and morning.
- The night before: It's still not too late to get your seven hours of sleep — two options are to go to bed half an hour early and sleep in half an hour or go to bed an hour early.
It's not just about good sleep. According to one 2020 study, the risk of fatal traffic accidents increases by 6% during the transition in spring from Standard Time to Daylight Saving Time.