Daylight Savings Time begins at 2 a.m. this Sunday, which is when we SPRING FORWARD and move the clocks ahead one hour. This is when we LOSE an hour of sleep.
Generally, adjusting to the time change in the spring is far more difficult than when we FALL BACK in fall. Along with being groggy and cranky, you could see changes in your motor skills, appetite, and even your heart.
The Negative Effects of Daylight Savings are numerous.
Daylight savings can lead to changes in sleep cycles and when we spring forward, our bodies need to adjust by going to bed earlier. This can cause us to be restless at night (not ready to go to sleep) and tired during the day (not enough sleep).
On average, Americans lose 40 minutes of sleep when we spring forward. This can lead to mood swings and increased irritability. The time change might be even more difficult for people who live with pain because those people already struggle with sleep.
Pets notice the time change, as well. Since their humans set the routines for their furbabies, dogs and cats and even cows are disrupted when you bring their food an hour late or come to milk them later than usual.
These changes in sleep can also affect memory, performance and concentration levels. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that shifts related to daylight saving time led to a dramatic increase in "cyberloafing" -- killing time on the internet instead of working.
Another study in American Economic Journal, analyzed vehicle accidents just before and after daylight saving time and it showed a 6 percent increase in crashes after the SPRING FORWARD time change resulting in more than 300 deaths.
A recent study also found that daylight savings may cause an increase risk of a common type of stroke as well as a short term risk for heart attack. A study found 24% more people have heart attacks after Daylight Savings than on other Mondays throughout the year.
Daylight Savings can also disrupt our mental health. A study found that "self-reported life satisfaction deteriorates after the transition to DST." The effect is even more profound for people who are employed full-time.
It can lead to an increase in workplace injuries on the MOndays immediately following Daylight Savings. This probably won't apply to you if you work in an office, but if you do any physical labor then this is for you.
Although Daylight Savings was introduced (in the US) by Benjamin Franklin - he felt "that if there were more hours of daylight, people wouldn't waste as many candles lighting their homes at night". There might have been a need for saving in pre-electricity times, but we do now know that Daylight Savings actually INCREASES residential electricity demand by an estimated 1%.
So what can we do about it?
Try to adjust to it slowly. Start today and go to bed earlier and get up earlier to give your body time to adjust.
Seek out the sun. Raise the shades and get to the sunlight as soon as you wake up. Feeling and seeing the sun will have a dramatic effect on your body’s inner clock. It also helps you to release serotonin which helps to boost your need and keep you calm.
Keep the bedroom cool... between 50- and 68-degrees Fahrenheit. A cooler environment promotes feelings of sleepiness.Sleep in complete darkness.
Get rid of the television and the ambient “blue light” or cellphone that glows all night.
DON’T NAP (at least not on Sunday!) Shutting your eyes midday is tempting, especially if you’re feeling sluggish, but it could backfire bigtime! Instead, get outside and seek some sunlight to help with your internal clock.
Be consistent. Wake up at the same time each morning to keep your sleep cycle the same – even on your days off.
Exercise - being physically active is good for your health and it can help you sleep better, too. Go for a walk or run outdoors during daylight where you are exposed to natural sunlight.
Reduce screen time. Television, tablets, and phones may help you unwind for the evening, but they can stimulate your brain and actually make it harder to fall asleep.
2008 National Bureau of Economic Research study
2012 stud Pennsylvania State University
Austin C. Smith, 2012 relationship between DST and fatal vehicle crashes
2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics' Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses
2014 study in the journal Open Heart
2014 German Study, published in the journal Economics Letters
research at Michigan State University 2009 American Psychological Association
Sandhya Kumar, assistant professor of neurology and medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina,