Fort Riley, Kansas



The end of daylight saving time

By Dawn J. Douglas | FORT RILEY GARRISON SAFETY OFFICE | October 27, 2017

     It’s been a great ride, basking in that extra hour of daylight since the spring, but sadly, that time is coming to an end. On Nov. 5, most Americans will set their clocks back an hour, as day light saving time ends for the year.



      Starting in 2007, DST begins in the United States on the second Sunday in March, when people move their clocks forward an hour at 2 a.m. local standard time — so at 2 a.m. on that day, the clocks will then read 3 a.m. local daylight time. Daylight saving time ends on the first Sunday in November, when clocks are moved back an hour at 2 a.m. local daylight time — so they will then read 1 a.m. local standard time. Thus, Nov. 5, at 2 a.m. DST officially ends.



      Daylight saving time began in Germany in May 1916 as a way to conserve fuel during World War I. The rest of Europe came onboard shortly thereafter. And in 1918, the United States adopted daylight saving time.

      In 1966, Congress enacted the Uniform Time Act, which required any state participating in DST, had to follow a uniform protocol thought the state in which DST would begin on the first Sunday of April and end on the last Sunday in October. It is not a requirement for states to participate in DST, though most do; the exceptions are northeastern Arizona, Hawaii, and the overseas territories of American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.



      According to “Everyday Health,” less than 10 percent of people suffer from the kind of seasonal affective disorder that’s triggered in fall and winter months, which is also known as winter depression. Because our biological clock is very different from the “society clock.” Many people may feel a little “down” as winter weather sets in. Less sunlight affects your circadian rhythm, the body’s internal clock that governs certain brain wave activity and hormone production. This shift can change mood-related chemicals in a way that can cause depression.

      For this reason, even though it may be cold, absorbing real sunlight in the winter months is still very important. Just going outside for ten minutes a day can equate to 10,000 international units of vitamin D, which is an essential vitamin for preventing a variety of diseases. Taking a vitamin D supplement during the winter is also helpful. The recommended daily allowance for vitamin D is 600 IUs a day, but a physician can determine what the best amount of vitamin D is for an individual.

      Exercise is the best medicine for fighting the winter blues. Aerobic exercise in the colder months also helps with the time transition. Winter exercising requires planning and proper dress for cold weather. In addition, with reduced sunlight and icy, wet or snow covered roads, making sure the risk associated with exercises in the winter need to be assessed and mitigated. Although many people enjoy exercising outside in the summer months, moving towards inside exercise provides a safe way to continue healthy activity.

      Although the winter is perfect for “comfort food” there are some mood boosting foods that might make winter days a little more bearable. One food is pumpkins seeds that are chocked full of zinc. Pumpkin seeds fight off inflammation and are rich in magnesium.

      Another mood food is squash. Butternut squash contains magnesium, potassium, and 52 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin C, which helps the immune and central nervous system.

       And although there are many other foods and spices that are perfect for winter, cinnamon is one of the best cognitive boosters. Just smelling cinnamon enhances cognitive performance. Cinnamon helps regulate the blood sugar that is connected to anxiety and depression.



      Mood is not the only effect of the end of DST. Did you know pedestrians walking around at dusk are nearly three times more likely to be struck and killed by cars in the days following the end of daylight saving time than just before the time change? A study of seven years of nationwide traffic fatalities was conducted at Carnegie Mellon University, calculating the risk per mile walked for pedestrians. The study found that the per-mile risk jumps 186 percent from October to November.

     Evidence suggests that time changes increase safety problems both at work and at home. Just being aware of the increased risk of accidents in the period immediately following the time change may help you stay alert. Try to avoid building up a sleep debt in the days before the change.

       Finally, the end of the DST is a great time to check and replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. As the cold sets in and many start up their gas-fired furnaces, fireplaces, portable unit heaters and the like for the first time, carbon monoxide poisoning risks increase significantly. Replace any smoke alarm unit that is older than 10 years. Replace any carbon monoxide alarm unit that is older than 5 years.

      Do you have an emergency kit for both your automobile and your home? Such kits can be a lifesaver if you are stuck out in bad weather while driving. They should include items such as warm clothes, blanket, flashlight, batteries, water, non-perishable snacks, shovel, flares, reflective hazard triangle, jumper cables, cat litter or sand for traction, ski hat and gloves. In addition, if you are stuck at home during a significant weather event without power, your kit can help you survive until the event is over or a suitable shelter can be found for both your family and your pets.

      Another vital check is your fire extinguisher. When was the last time you checked your kitchen fire extinguisher to see if it needs recharging? Check the small gauge at the top of the extinguisher. If the needle in that gauge is in the green, chances are, the extinguisher is okay. If it is in the red, you need to have the extinguisher recharged.

      For more safety tips or general information about the end of DST, contact the Fort Riley, Safety Office, 785-240-0647. Do not forget to visit IMCOM Safety to download your safety guide for Fall/Winter.