The dangers of ‘springing forward’ with daylight saving time

Published 12:00 pm Saturday, March 13, 2021

Daylight saving time is upon us. As we spring forward into a new season, make sure to set your clocks before going to bed. We lose an hour of sleep in the early hours of Sunday, March 14 which has statistically been proven to increase the risks of a number of physical and mental health symptoms. Here are some tips to try and avoid any accidents caused by the time change.

  • Try to go to sleep and wake up when you always do. Don’t change your alarms to keep the extra hour of sleep and do not partake in naps during the day if you begin to feel drowsy, as this will make the transition harder for your body in the long run.
  • Try to schedule your night to ensure the best night of sleep possible. Do not indulge in an alcoholic or caffeinated beverage after your evening meal and refrain from using your electronics for at least an hour before bedtime. The light from screens, as well as the chemicals found in alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, can throw off your body’s natural circadian rhythm and make it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep for the duration of the night. 
  • Be cautious on your morning commute. A University of Colorado at Boulder study published last year found that fatal car accidents go up by 6% during the week after daylight saving time begins. This leads to an extra 28 lives lost due to car crashes. Whether your commute is long or short, practice safe and cautious driving while behind the wheel. 
  • Drowsy driving is dangerous driving. If you feel sleep deprived, do not get behind the wheel. Accidents caused by drowsy driving lead to 100,000 police-reported crashes every year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries reported from these accidents. 
  • Heart attacks increase in prevalence following the beginning of daylight saving time. A study completed by the University of Colorado in Denver found that the number of heart attacks increases by 25% on the Monday after springing forward. Those involved in the study believe the stress of a new work week beginning along with the loss of sleep are contributing factors in this increase. 

When preparing yourself for the time change this weekend, try to put proactive habits into practice to keep yourself and those around you as safe as possible.