Even though it seems like winter this year has been never-ending, the promise of spring is in the air as the wind sweeps across the Great Plains. With the promise of spring also looms an event that affects most everyone nationwide this Sunday: daylight saving time.
We “spring forward” at 2 a.m. Sunday, and then those affected haven’t had a chance to reset their internal clocks by the time they go to work or school, whether it’s Sunday or Monday.
I wanted to encourage you to both read the resources that are available and also try to decrease the damage that daylight saving time does by especially taking care of yourself and your loved ones this weekend and being especially careful and mindful of safety on whichever day you go to work.
Firm associate Jon Rehm discussed this issue and offered some very helpful resources on this blog in 2013. And respected colleague Jon Gelman, whose law firm is in New Jersey, posted this useful article at the end of daylight saving time last year. I think it’s worth discussing some of the points of the article in an effort to spread knowledge about this manmade challenge.
“The debate still rages as to if this time-switch does save energy, but along the way we’ve seen signs that it has negative effects on our health and the economy,” according to the article by Business Insider that was the source for Mr. Gelman’s blog post.
A spike in heart attacks occurs during the first week of daylight saving time, according to Business Insider, “because losing an hour of sleep increases stress and provides less time to recover overnight.”
In addition, there is research that shows car crashes, which decrease when DST starts and increase when DST ends, would decrease overall if DST was just year round, according to Business Insider.
Finally, a 2009 study cited in the Business Insider article determined that “accidents at work happen more often and are more severe after springing forward.”
The “Why” section of the article was very interesting and shows that scientists haven’t determined exactly how the body works when it comes to sleep, but that daylight saving time definitely affects a person.
“The problems with DST are the worst in the spring, when we’ve all just lost one hour of sleep. The sun rises later, making it more difficult to wake in the morning. This is because we reset our natural clocks using the light. When out of nowhere (at least to our bodies) these cues change, it causes big confusion.
“Like anytime you lose sleep, springing forward causes decreases in performance, concentration, and memory common to sleep-deprived individuals, as well as fatigue and daytime sleepiness.”
Some people take up to three weeks (on the longer side for night owls) after the sleep changes to recover, and others can adjust in a day, the Business Insider article said.
Finally, the estimated economic costs that include the toll on health, lost productivity, and even “the 10 minutes twice a year” per household to change their clocks, ranges between $434 million and $1 billion in the United States.
So try to take it easy on next Monday, and do your best to sleep well.