Temperatures are warming, snow is melting and sap is running, all of which means it's nearly time to "spring forward" for another eight months of daylight saving time.
Despite losing an hour of weekend sleep, a lot of folks welcome the time change, which heralds the beginning of warm weather and longer evenings for working or playing outdoors.
Still, the switch can play havoc with your biological clock, and when DST kicks in at 2 a.m. this Sunday many people will have trouble adjusting.
The organizers of National Sleep Awareness week, an annual public awareness campaign that takes place the week before daylight savings time begins, offer these recommendations for a restful spring:
∙Go to bed at the same time each night and rise at the same time each morning.
∙Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, dark and relaxing environment.
∙Make sure your bed is comfortable and use it only for sleeping and not for other activities, such as reading, watching TV or listening to music.
∙Physical activity may help promote sleep, but not within a few hours of bedtime.
∙Avoid large meals before bedtime.
∙Avoid caffeinated drinks after lunch.
∙Avoid bright light in the evening.
∙Avoid stressful or stimulating activities around bedtime, such as heavy study, text messaging and long conversations.
∙Expose yourself to bright light upon awakening in the morning.
∙While sleeping in on weekends is OK, it should not be for more than a couple of hours past your usual wake-up time.
∙Avoid "all-nighter" study sessions.
Fiddling around with the clock in order to soak up some extra sunlight is hardly a new idea. During his time as American envoy to France, Benjamin Franklin suggested that Parisians save money on candles by getting up earlier.
But "springing forward" didn't really catch on until mankind took a giant step backward during the bloody years of World War I, when Germany and its allies used DST — which they called Sommerzeit — as a way to conserve coal. Britain soon followed suit, as did the United States upon entering the war in 1918.
DST returned a generation later during World War II and became more or less universal in North America and Europe starting in the 1970s during a burgeoning energy crisis.
Not everybody was happy about that, and just about every year since someone leads the charge for returning to standard time year around.
One such contrarian is state Rep. Delus Johnson of St. Joseph, who recently called on the Show-Me State to "fall back" permanently.
Johnson has introduced legislation that would end daylight saving time in Missouri if 20 other states agree to do the same thing.
Page 2 of 2 - The northwest Missouri lawmaker believes DST doesn't really save that much energy. He also cites studies claiming that more people have accidents and heart attacks due to altered sleep patterns the week after the time change goes into effect.
But the Missouri Broadcasters Association is opposing the bill on the grounds that, if it ever became law, sporting events would have to air at odd times in order for the state to stay in sync with the rest of the country.