Check your clocks: Daylight saving time 2022 began at 2 a.m.

Clocks will 'spring forward' at 2 a.m. local time.
NEW YORK -- Time to spring forward!

Daylight saving time 2022 began at 2 a.m. local time on Sunday in most of the United States.

If you haven't already, set your clocks an hour ahead to avoid confusion.

This also means that the sun will set close to or after 7 p.m. in major U.S. cities like Chicago (6:55 p.m.), Los Angeles (6:59 p.m.) and New York (7:01 p.m.), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Some lucky cities like Raleigh (7:20 p.m.) and Houston (7:29 p.m.) will experience even longer days.

Now that DST has started, spring is only one week away, with an official start at 11:33 a.m. ET on Sunday, March 20, according to AccuWeather.

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Astronomical spring begins at 11:33 a.m. ET on March 20, 2022, in the Northern Hemisphere, according to AccuWeather.

Contrary to the popular misconception, daylight saving time lasts longer than half the year. Rather, it stretches over a nearly eight-month period and comes to an end on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022.

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Meet 'Clock Man,' who advances the clocks at Philadelphia City Hall for Daylight Saving.

Daylight saving time: Fact and fiction

  • It's daylight saving time, not daylight "savings" time. You are saving daylight, not savings daylight.
  • The system was first proposed over 200 years ago as an economical suggestion to maximize daylight hours and conserve candles.
  • The Germans were the first to officially adopt the light-extending system in 1915 as a fuel-saving measure during World War I.
  • From 1986 to 2006, DST in the U.S. started in April and ended in October but was extended to March through November beginning in 2007.
  • About 70 countries around the world observe DLS.
  • Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and most of Arizona don't observe the time change.

How does the daylight saving time change impact health?

According to the American Heart Association, in addition to the fatigue, the transition can also affect your heart and brain. Hospital admissions for an irregular heartbeat pattern known as atrial fibrillation, as well as heart attacks and strokes, increase in the first few days of daylight saving time.

"Daylight saving time feels kind of like jetlag from traveling across time zones," said Dr. Angela Holliday-Bell, a pediatrician and certified clinical sleep specialist.

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Here are tips for staying healthy as we turn clocks forward.

"Your body needs time to readjust to a new light/dark cycle, so it can be hard on the body and hard on sleep," Holliday-Bell said.

This cycle, also known as the circadian rhythm, is a fine-tuned system that our bodies use to regulate time, she said. For most people, that cycle is about 24 hours and 15 minutes.

"It dictates all the processes that occur in your body -- including sleep, wake and digestion," said Holliday-Bell. Even the immune system is controlled by your circadian rhythm, meaning "when you lose an hour, you're losing some immune function as well," she explains.

Sleep deprivation can also slow the executive function of the brain, which explains the increase in car accidents seen with the time transition of daylight savings. Mood can suffer too.

Experts agree that there are several strategies to prepare your body all year round and for the days leading up to daylight savings time.

Will the U.S. ever get rid of DST?

There aren't many public policy issues on which about 75% of Americans dislike the status quo and there is no real partisan divide

But nothing gets done to avoid the switching between daylight saving and standard time because Americans agree on the problem but not the solution.

The fight over daylight saving time has been going on for more than 100 years now. Should we turn the clocks forward in the spring and set them back in the fall? If not, then should we either stick with daylight saving time or the more traditional standard time?

At least 18 states have passed bills to stop the time change, and another 22 are considering it this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Some federal legislators, like Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, have also proposed nixxing the time change.

Ultimately, the decision hinges on Congress, which would have to amend the Federal Uniform Time Act of 1966.

It turns out that, as it is with many other issues and national debates, there are competing special interests with a lot of money at play.

The U.S. Department of Transportation, which oversees daylight saving time, says the additional sunlight later in the day saves energy, results in fewer traffic and pedestrian fatalities, and reduces lawlessness, since "more people are out conducting their affairs during the daylight rather than at night when more crime occurs."

A permanent shift to daylight saving time could mean more children get ready for school and adults head work in the dark, and year-long standard time would make sunsets earlier.

How can people prepare themselves for the time change?

Try to prepare the body gradually to losing that hour of sleep. Slowly adjusting your sleep schedule about a month in advance can lessen the time change's blow.

ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Ashton said eating lightly throughout the day can help keep circadian rhythms balanced.

Minimizing screen time and avoiding bright lights also helps.

"Be aware of changes in our mood. This can really affect people, and I think it's important not to dismiss those changes," she said.

The Associated Press, CNNWire and ABC News contributed to this report.
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