This year, Halloween brings a little extra treat: an additional hour of sleep. According to significant research, however, the biannual transition in and out of Daylight Savings Time is tough on the human body, leading to physiological changes that cause more accidents on the road and in the workplace.
Daylight Savings Time: Spikes in Accidents
Although Daylight Savings Time only shifts our sleep by a single hour, scientists have found that forcing changes to an individual’s sleep pattern by just one hour has a profound impact on the body.
In fact, when researchers looked at the two-week period before and after the clocks roll forwards or backwards, they saw a jump in hospital admissions for heart attacks. The increase in heart attacks was more noticeable in people of regular working age, or those aged 65 and younger.
Furthermore, Americans are not the only ones who experience adverse health reactions to Daylight Savings Time. Scientists observed the same health concerns in people from other countries that shift between Daylight Savings Time and Standard Time.
Injuries in the Workplace
Fortunately, the spike in workplace injuries is mostly associated with the switch to Daylight Savings Time, which occurs in the spring. Researchers did not see a significant jump in on-the-job injuries when the clocks roll back to Standard Time in the fall.
In the spring, scientists say there are 3.6 more injuries on the Mondays following the transition to Daylight Savings Time, which deprives American workers of one hour of sleep.
Because the increase in workplace accidents after the clocks roll back is well-documented, researchers suggest ways for employers to help their workers adjust to the time change.
Suggestions include scheduling more dangerous work for later in the week following a time change and implementing additional safety precautions in the days after a switch to Daylight Savings Time.
Sleep: By the Numbers
This research is important because it illustrates the importance of sleep. Even a one-hour change can drastically interfere with a person’s sleep quality, resulting in sleep deprivation that makes an individual more accident prone, irritable, and less productive.
Researchers at Harvard have published some staggering statistics linking sleep deprivation to a wide array of serious accidents:
- Sleep deprivation contributed to the two most infamous nuclear meltdowns of all time: the 1979 disaster at Three Mile Island and the 1986 Chernobyl accident.
- The explosion of the Challenger space shuttle has been linked to sleep deprivation.
- The Exxon Valdez oil spill involved sleep deprivation.
- According to the Institutes of Medicine, more than 1 million deaths each year are caused by doctors functioning on too little sleep.
- 168 million people admit to driving drowsy, says the National Sleep Foundation.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 100,000 traffic crashes are caused by sleep deprivation each year.
These figures demonstrate the importance of adequate sleep. When people drive, work, or perform other activities on too little sleep, they can cause serious injuries to themselves and others.
How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?
The National Sleep Foundation has published a guide to determining how much sleep you need based on your age, occupation, and activities.
- 14-17 years: Teenagers require between eight to 10 hours on average.
- 18-25 years: By contrast, younger adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.
- 26-64 years: Adults between the ages of 26 and 64 also require somewhere between seven and nine hours every night.
- 65 and over: Older adults – those over age 65 – should get seven to eight hours of sleep every night.
Regardless of the time of year, take steps to ensure that you are getting adequate sleep. It’s essential for your mind and body — as well as those around you.
Hire an Experienced Workers Compensation Lawyer
If you have injured at workplace and looking for compensation benefits then consult with an experienced workers compensation lawyer at 561-687-5660.
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