Be careful this weekend. It will be shorter than most.
Daylight Saving Time (DST) starts Sunday. At 2 a.m., everyone should set their clocks to 3 a.m. or risk being late for appointments.
Losing an hour of sleep is always inconvenient, but the good news is that seasonal depression should be on the way out the door as we near the vernal equinox – also known as the first day of spring – when the amount of daylight and darkness are balanced, 12 hours of each.
Although moods will inevitably improve, losing an hour of sleep has its consequences.
Some researchers agree.
A study published in the academic journal Current Biology says the DST transition in the spring significantly increases fatal car accidents in the week following the switch. According to the results, the risk of dying in a car accident fatal increased by 6 percent in the U.S. the week of DST.
A federal government registry was used in the study, which looked at 732,835 fatal motor vehicle accidents from 1996 to 2017.
Fatigue combined with darker morning hours led to a 9 percent increase in risk before noon, according to the investigators. The time that didn’t show any effect was between 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The University of Colorado Boulder also reported a 6 percent spike in fatal car accidents when studying DST effects.
According to a study from American College of Cardiology, there is a 25 percent increase in the number of reported heart attacks the Monday after DST when compared to other Mondays. Interestingly, the same study found that there was a 21 percent decrease in the number of heart attacks reported when the clocks fall by in autumn.
With these studies, it’s important to remember that correlation doesn’t equal causation. In other words, just because two things occur together doesn’t mean it’s a cause-and-affect relationship. These studies involve numerous variables, so there could be other forces affecting an outcome, like human error.
If you end up losing an hour of sleep, March 9 is actually National Napping Day, so treat yourself to a nap.
While doctors suggest that adults should get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, even with the time adjustment, sleep experts say naps – even for adults – are good for your body.
To get even better rest, the Better Sleep Council recommends:
Eating two to three hours before bed so digestion doensn’t interrupt your sleep schedule.
Changing your mattress every seven years.
Staying active during the day so you aren’t tired and are ready for bed at night.
Refraining from drinking caffeinated drinks after 4 p.m. if you plan to go to sleep by 10 p.m.
Keeping your bedroom dark even though it’s lighter outside after the change.
Maintaining your normal nighttime routine regardless of the change.
Keeping a cooler room temperature to encourage sleep.
Sleep is very important. Make sure you take care of yourself and stay safe.
While you’re thinking of it, change the batteries in your fire alarm. It can save your life.