It’s that time of year again. In an effort to economize on sunlight and save energy, the clocks get turned forward an hour; a practice that while logical in theory, has not necessarily been helpful in practice. Did you know that DST can have more profound effects on you than just losing that extra hour of sleep? Here are some other ways in which this ritual can affect your health and productivity.
- Increased workplace injuries
Though this threat may not apply to those who work in the office, others who work at more physically demanding jobs have been shown to experience more frequent and severe workplace injuries at the onset of daylight savings time in the spring.
The 2009 Journal of Applied Psychology published a study that found that mine workers arrived at work with 40 mins less sleep and experienced 5.7% more workplace injuries in the week directly following the springtime daylight saving transition.
- More heat attacks
A study conducted in 2008 by a team of Swedish researches showed the rate of heart attacks during the first 3 weekdays following the time change increased by about 5% from the average rate during other times of the year. Researchers have attributed the surge in heart attacks to changes in people’s sleep patterns. Lack of sleep can release stress hormones that increase inflammation, which can cause more severe complications in people already at risk of having a heart attack.
- Longer cyberloafing
Cyberloafing – the slang term for surfing the Web for personal entertainment during work hours – may not be as significant as heart attacks and workplace injuries, but it can cost companies thousands of salary wages.
A 2012 Journal of Applied Psychology study found that cyberloafing significantly increased in more than 200 metropolitan U.S. regions during the first Monday after daylight saving time. The team attributed the shift to lack of sleep and thus lack of workday motivation and focus.
- Increased cluster headaches
Circadian rhythms tick away throughout the body every day, controlling the release of certain hormones that affect moods, hunger levels and yearning for sleep. When these rhythms get thrown off, even by just one hour during daylight saving time, the human body notices the difference.
For some people, the effects of this change can set off debilitating chronic pain. Cluster headaches, for example – headaches that cluster within one side of a person’s head and can cause excruciating pain for days or weeks at a time – seem to be triggered by changes in circadian rhythms.