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Surprising Effects Of Daylight Saving Time

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Daylights Savings Time was an idea first suggested by Ben Franklin in 1784. He thought that by extending the day one hour during the winter mornings, less candles would burn and more work would get done.

The United States saw Daylights Savings Time become officially recognized with the Uniform Time Act of 1966.
While it was started with the intention to save energy, its effectiveness is still up for debate. Daylight Savings Time can affect many things. Here are a few of the surprising effects it may have:

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1. More Car Accidents?

There is evidence in academic literature both for and against the notion of DST causing an increase in automotive accidents. According to science, DST causes accidents as a side effect of “subtle changes in sleep patterns and circadian rhythms can alter human alertness and, in some cases, might increase the risk of potentially fatal car accidents.”

A journal in Finland published in 2010 sought to find evidence for this claim. The researchers measured from 1981 to 2006 the number of accidents one week before and one week after DST. They found no substantial difference in the number of accidents between those times.

Another journal published in 2010 in the Journal of Safety Research found the extra hour made the roads safer for people traveling to work in the morning.

2. Increased Workplace Injuries

If you work a cushy office job or you are checking people out at the grocery store, it is as likely to happen as any other jobs. But when it comes to a job like mining or construction, they experience a spike in workplace injuries at the start of Daylight Savings Time. The same cannot be said for when DST ends.

The Journal of Applied Psychology published a study in 2009 concluded that “mine workers arrived at work with 40 minutes less sleep and experienced 5.7 percent more workplace injuries in the week directly following the springtime daylight saving transition than during any other days of the year.”

Researchers believe it is the lack of sleep that leads to these workplace injuries.

3. More Heart Attacks

In 2008, a team of Swedish researchers conducted a study to examine the effects of DST on the frequency of heart attacks. They saw a 5 increase in an attack in the weeks leading up to DST, but the same cannot be said for the weeks following.

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An article in the 2008 New England Journal of Medicine describing the pattern, stated the level of heart attacks could be tied to the irregularity of their sleep patterns during these changes.

Too little sleep releases stress hormones, sometimes causing inflammation, and resulting in worse complications for those already prone to heart attacks.

4. Longer Cyberloafing

Cyberloafing is defined as using the internet, while at work, to do anything that is not work-related.

So it might not carry the physical risk that a lack of sleep does, but imagine what it’s costing the company for employees not to be working the floor.

It was in the first Monday after daylight savings time that cyberloafing increased more than 200 metropolitan areas, according to 2012 study in the Journal of Applied psychology. As with teams before them, they too suggested it was the lack of sleep and workplace motivation and focus. Though, these results have yet to be tested experimentally.

Cyberloafing is bad if you have a well-paying job and are caught in the process, to develop ways to ensure you keep it to a minimum.

5. Increased Cluster Headaches

Our circadian rhythm controller the release of specific hormones that may affect mood, our hunger, and our desire to find rest. A change by as little as an hour, such as DST, the human body can tell the difference.

The human body may respond with something like cluster headaches. These types of headaches are in radiate from one side of the head and last anywhere from days to weeks. All of this appears triggered by changes in circadian rhythm during the time leading up to and away from Daylight Savings Time.

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What do you think of how Daylight Savings Time affects people? Have you ever shared in the unfortunate occurrence of a cluster headache, courtesy of DST? Did you experience or hear anything odd that coincided with Daylight Savings Time?

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  • Nap Queen

    I strongly believe they should leave it on Standard time. Gaining that extra hour for the first week makes all the difference in the world to us sensitive sleepers. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

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