Daylight Savings and Sleep: Facts You Didn’t Know

It’s almost that time of year again, spring ahead, fall behind. Before you hit your foam latex mattress on next Saturday night don’t forget to change your clocks an hour behind. Daylight savings officially commences on Sunday November 4th. For such a big part of our lives, few people actually know much about daylight savings time. Daylight savings can even have an affect on your sleep and therefore can affect your performance during the day. Let’s go over some interesting facts provided by the U.S. News and Health about daylight savings that may very well take you by surprise.

1. Officially, it’s “daylight saving time,” not “daylight savings time.” But don’t feel bad if you thought there was a final “s” on “saving”; far more people Google the incorrect phrase than the correct one.

2. Daylight saving time has mixed effects on people’s health. Transitions into and out of DST can disturb people’s sleeping patterns, for example, and make them more restless at night. Night owls tend to be more bothered by the time changes than people who like mornings, Finnish researchers concluded in 2008.

3. There’s a spike in heart attacks during the first week of daylight saving time, according to another study published in 2008. The loss of an hour’s sleep may make people more susceptible to an attack, some experts say. When daylight saving time ends in the fall, heart attacks briefly become less frequent than usual.

4. People are safer drivers during daylight hours, and researchers have found that DST reduces lethal car crashes and pedestrian strikes. In fact, a study concluded that observing DST year-round would annually prevent about 195 deaths of motor vehicle occupants and about 171 pedestrian fatalities.

5. The Energy Policy Act of 2005, signed into law by President George W. Bush, extended the length of daylight saving time by four weeks. It now begins at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday in March. It ends on the first Sunday in November.

6. Also in 2005, Kazakhstan abolished daylight saving time, citing negative health effects. The country’s government reportedly calculated that 51.6 percent of Kazakhs responded badly to the time change.

7. Many other countries observe daylight saving time, but not all do so on the same day. That can create confusion for international travelers, business communications, and more.

8. Daylight saving can also cause confusion close to home. In March 2007, a Pennsylvania honor student was mistakenly accused of threatening his school with a bomb. He had actually called an automated line to get info about scheduled classes due to the time difference. Someone else made the bomb threat an hour later.

9. Two states—Arizona and Hawaii—and four U.S. territories—American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands—don’t observe daylight saving time. Indiana adopted DST in 2006.

10. Daylight saving time was first used during World War I, as part of an effort in the United States and other warring countries to conserve fuel. In theory, using daylight more efficiently saves fuel and energy because it reduces the nation’s need for artificial light.

Hope these few fun facts get you through your Monday, and don’t forget to get that extra hour of sleep in next weekend!

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    Amber Merton

    Amber Merton is an accomplished writer on the topics of green living and sleep. Her work has been covered in numerous online publications. Amber has been a regular author on the PlushBeds blog for the past 7 years.

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