If your regular cup of coffee or tea on Monday feels like decaf, it could be the time change. On Saturday night, most people in the United States changed their clocks forward one hour at 2am to start Daylight Savings Time. Since people’s bodily rhythms don’t change as easily as a clock’s hands (or numbers), by Monday morning most adults will be feeling the jet lag-like effects of two nights with less sleep.
Is Daylight Savings Time Standard Across the United States?
Daylight Savings Time begins with “springing forward” an hour on the second Sunday each March, while Standard Time resumes by “falling back” an hour on the first Sunday each November. Two states and several territories do not change their clocks:
- Arizona (except for the Navajo Nation that is located within Arizona’s borders)
- American Samoa
- Puerto Rico
- U.S. Virgin Islands
Until 2006, part of Indiana did not observe Daylight Savings Time, but after legislative changes in 2006, the entire state now changes its clocks along with 47 other states.
How Do People’s Bodies Respond to “Losing” an Hour of Sleep?
Daylight Savings Time was created for benefits including more hours of daylight (and therefore energy savings in the evenings). These extra hours of daylight can lead to increased physical activity because of longer evenings and reductions in Season Affective Disorder symptoms because of greater hours of sunlight.
The switch over to Daylight Savings Time, however, can cause many short-term problems, the most common of which is sleep disturbances. Many people cannot adjust to the time change overnight, and in the days or weeks during which their bodies’ rhythms adapt to the time shift, those people suffer from sleep deprivation and exhaustion.
Daylight Savings Time has been associated with increased incidence of heart attacks and strokes, according to separate studies by researchers at the University of Alabama and in Finland. Workplace injuries and auto accidents increase in the days immediately following the time change in March, according to several studies.
Does Sleep Deprivation Cause Car Accidents?
A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says that yes, sleep deprivation causes car crashes. The study, Acute Sleep Deprivation and Risk of Motor Vehicle Crash Involvement, published in December 2016, suggests that a person who gets even one or two hours less of sleep than the recommended seven to eight hours is twice as likely to be in an auto accident than a driver who got seven or more hours of sleep.
The study also indicates that as the number of hours of sleep declines, the rate of involvement in accidents increases. So drivers getting four or five hours of sleep have four times the crash rate of drivers getting seven to eight hours of sleep. This crash rate is similar to that of drunken drivers. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistic show that approximately 20% of fatal car wrecks involve an overly tired driver.
To prevent car crashes this week, car accident attorneys recommend going to bed an hour or two earlier each night, rather than grabbing another cup of caffeine. If you or a loved one has been hurt in an automobile crash, call the car accident attorneys at Cerritos Legal today at 562-865-9356 for your free consultation.