Feeling a little more tired this morning? You are not alone. You may be able to blame your fatigue the switch to Daylight Saving Time. It’s hard to get your body onto the new schedule and as a result, researchers have found that on average, Americans sleep 40 minutes less the night after “springing forward.”
That shift can mean you’re late to church on Sunday but on Monday it means you are more likely to get injured at work. The Atlantic took a look at some of the reasons why, focusing on a 2009 study of coal miners. That study showed that injuries jumped by more than 5 percent the Monday after DST began. And on top of that, the injuries that occurred on those Mondays were more severe!
When you realize that Americans are getting 40 minutes less sleep, the increase in injuries isn’t a big surprise. Many studies have shown the impact of fatigue on drivers and workers. Our own experiences likely back that up. You’re more likely to make mistakes (and so are those around you) when you are tired.
And not to add insult to injury but car accidents also increase the week after Daylight Saving Time begins. Researchers speculate that the increase is not only due to less sleep, but also because it stays darker later so while it may have been daylight last week when we drove to work, this week it’s dark.
So the bottom line for this week is that you should try to get to sleep a little earlier, drive a little more carefully, and be conscious of how tired those are around you. But if you are injured this week, please let me know. I’d like to help.
PS You can read more about the DST studies in The Atlantic’s article.