Newswise — A Rutgers researcher explains what "spring forward" means for adults and children.

Daylight saving time is rapidly approaching, which means most Americans will sleep less than usual over the next week as their bodies adjust.

A little planning about your sleep schedule as we prepare to "spring forward" an hour can make the transition easier, says Andrea Spaeth, director of the Rutgers Sleep Lab.

The start of daylight saving time happens on the second Sunday of March at 2 a.m. Throughout much of the world, clocks move forward one hour and stay there for nearly eight months.

Spaeth, an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health at the School of Arts and Sciences, talks about adjusting to the time change and making the most of more natural daylight.

We turn the clocks an hour ahead on Sunday morning and adults essentially lose one hour of their weekend. What effects does this have on adults’ circadian rhythms and how will those effects be noticeable in the following week?

It typically takes a few days for your internal clock to realign with the change in environmental time. Exposing yourself to natural light in the morning when you wake up can help your body adjust more quickly. Taking a brief walk outside before work is a great way to synchronize your internal clock and help you sleep better at night.

What about the effects on children? Do you have any tips for parents to help their kids prepare for the time change?

The effects for children are similar to adults. For most kids, a gradual shift (about 15 minutes a night) in their bedtime will be easier than a sudden one-hour shift. So, parents can help by starting the shift gradually a few nights before the time change.

In March 2022, the United States Senate voted to abolish daylight savings, but legislation has stalled. In your opinion, what are some positives and negatives of daylight savings? Should we set one standard time and stick to it?

Sleep researchers recommend we stay on standard time rather than daylight savings since standard time is more aligned with our internal clocks. Hopefully, Congress will consider human health and biology when making their final decisions. We are happy to end the shifts twice a year, though.