In some places, the clocks have been moved forward an hour again to help us save energy and also experience more daylight in our days. It’s only 60 minutes of extra time, but DST still seems to affect people in interesting and some might call weird ways. Aside from losing an hour’s rest (and on a Sunday I might add, why couldn’t it start on a Monday?) all in the name of saving energy, how else does DST affect us?
Less Car Accidents?
As it turns out the extra hour of light creates subtle changes in sleep patterns and circadian rhythms and can affect our alertness. A study published in the Journal of Safety Research in 2010 found that DST actually helps prevent crashes as the light in the mornings help increase visibility.
More workplace accidents
We’re not talking about those who work in relatively safe workplaces in offices but more like jobs that require more physical work like miners. According to a study conducted by the Journal of Applied Psychology in 2009, mine workers run on 40 minutes less sleep which increased workplace injuries by 5.7 percent during the week directly following DST. The study attributed these injuries to lack of sleep.
More heart attacks
Lack of sleep also contributed to a five percent increase in heart attacks following DST. A study by the New England Journal of Medicine in 2008 attributed the heart attacks to the release of stress hormones (caused by the lack of sleep) that increases inflammation. To those already at risk of having a heart attacks, this inflammation can cause severe complications.
You would think that an hour is not something the body would notice, but it does. Just 60 minutes is enough to throw our circadian rhythms out of whack, affecting the release of certain hormones that affect our mood, hunger levels and sleep. Some people might just cruise through these changes, but for others this can set off chronic pain. Why this happens though remains unclear.
More surfing the web
This small shift in time can also cause people to cyberloaf more because of the lack of sleep. During the first week following DST, while the body gets used to the shift in time, office workers might experience a general drop in motivation which means they spend more time surfing the web than doing work.
Who woudda thunk that 60 minutes can cause so much difference? So be careful out there and take things easy while your body gets used to the effects of DST. Good luck!