If you’re feeling a little sluggish this morning, you’re not alone. Each year we set our clocks ahead one hour on the second Sunday in March for Daylight Saving Time. While we get to enjoy longer daylight hours in the evenings, the shift in time can easily confuse our internal clocks, which have difficulty adjusting to the change in time before we get up and go to work the following Monday.
Though a one-hour difference seems small, in a society plagued with sleep deprivation and sleep disorders, that single hour can make all the difference in an individual’s energy levels. In fact, research has repeatedly shown that the loss of sleep following Daylight Saving Time greatly affects safety, both at work and at the home. A few examples of this include:
- Daylight Saving Time is associated with a higher risk of employee accidents at work. Studies on accidents in industries such as mining have found that workplace accidents are both more common and more serious on the Monday after switching to Daylight Saving Time.
- In the hours and week following the time jump, people with a predisposition for heart problems or suffering from depression are more likely to suffer from heart attacks or commit suicide.
- The number of car crashes also spikes in the 24 hours following Daylight Saving Time.
- Accidents at home and on the road add up to a 5% to 7% increase in fatalities during the three days following the time change.
Data like this highlights exactly why the exhaustion many of us feel after Daylight Saving time is not something that should be ignored at work. That’s why we encourage employers and employees to do the following today and throughout the next week to help ensure that everything runs smoothly and everyone is safe following yesterday’s shift in time:
- Encourage the people who work with you to go to bed earlier tonight, which will help their body adjust to the new time and cope with last night’s loss of sleep.
- If your business is scheduled to handle a hazardous project today and it can be delayed, reschedule the work for later in the week, when staff members will have had time to adjust to the time jump.
- Take a preventive approach rather than a reactive approach to the dangers of this week; take extra precautions and assign extra safety monitors for the remainder of the week.