Did you remember to switch your clock an hour ahead? Yep, me, too. (Yawn.) It really set us back to lose that hour of sleep, didn’t it? (Bring on another cup of coffee.) Research has shown the Monday after the spring time change to be particularly dangerous compared to other Mondays through the year. Yep, that’s right—today (the Monday after the start of daylight saving time) is known for an increase in heart attacks, workplace injuries, traffic accidents, and accidental deaths. Why? Because we are already sleep-deprived, tired, and worn out, losing another hour puts us in more sleep-debt.
Studies have shown that throughout this past weekend, a large percentage of Americans slept about forty minutes less than their usual eight hours. In 2015, Colorado researchers reported a 25% increase in the number of heart attacks as compared with a normal Monday. In addition, also because of too little sleep, there is an increase in workplace injuries on this most dreaded Monday of the year. Using more than twenty years of data from the Mine Safety and Health Administration, researchers at Michigan State University determined that three to four more miners than average sustain a work-related injury on the Monday following the start of daylight saving time.
Do you have to be on the highway today? OK, then be careful. According to a study in sleep medicine performed in 2001, drivers are more likely to be in a fatal traffic accident on DST’s first Monday. Analysis was done on more than twenty-one years of data on fatal traffic accidents in the US. Following the start of DST, drivers are in 83.5 accidents as compared with 78.2 on the average Monday. And these sleep-deprived disasters are not happening just in the US, but also in Canada and England.
Unfortunately, the traffic accidents are not all, but there are more accidental deaths of any kind in the days following a spring forward. An analysis done in1996 showed a 6.5 percent increase—that means about 200 more accidental deaths happened right after the beginning of daylight saving time.
“Compared to the fall time change, most people actually have a harder time adjusting when we ‘spring forward,’ because we’re losing an hour of sleep,” explains sleep specialist and clinical psychologist Michael Breus, PhD.
So what’s a sleep-deprived American to do? Check out these tips.
Take your time challenge to the Lord. Let’s pray.
Dear Heavenly Father,
1. Help me put God first in my day.
“O God, you are my God, early will I seek you, my soul thirsts for you.” —Psalm 63:1
2. Help me use my time well.
“Teach us, Lord, to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” —Psalm 90:12 (NIV)
3. Help me have wisdom and prioritize.
“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time for the days are evil.” —Ephesians 5:16–15
In Jesus’ name, amen.