On Sunday March 8, 2020 the clocks will “spring forward” from 2am to 3am and we will lose an hour of sleep. This hour difference may seem like a slight nuisance but According to the American Economic Journal, there is a 6 percent spike in crashes the Monday after people reset their clocks in the spring. Why would that be? A 2014 study by the University of Colorado Boulder suggests “sleep deprivation caused by the spring transition increases risk.” In other words, losing that hour of sleep can cause driver fatigue, decreasing awareness and reaction time, thus increasing the risk of accidents.
Tips for Driving Safely After Springing Forward
Taking extra steps to adjust to the time change can help prevent sleep disruptions which can affect memory, performance, and concentration levels. Springing forward can also take a toll on your heart. Researchers in Finland noticed that the overall rate of strokes was 8 percent higher during the first two days after a daylight-saving time transition.
Here are some small changes you can make throughout the week before to help prevent negative effects of the time change:
- Early to bed, early to rise! Go to bed 15 minutes earlier and wake up 15 minutes earlier each day leading up to the time switch so that it does not feel as abrupt.
- Cut back on the coffee! Limit both caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime as they can interfere with your sleep schedule. Avoiding caffeine after lunchtime can help you fall asleep faster in the evening.
- Spend some time in the sun! Sunlight will help your body adjust to the time change. No need to hit the beach (unless you want to). Just try to sit near a sun facing window or take a short walk outside during your coffee break.
- Avoid artificial light. The light from your computer, television, and smartphone can trick your brain into thinking it is still daylight out and disrupt your sleep cycle. Avoid screen time for an hour before bed to prevent disrupting your sleep.
Fun Fact: Why 2:00 A.M.?
Changing the clocks at 2am might seem like a strange and arbitrary time, but there is a logical reason for why this time was chosen. It’s an hour with a limited number of activities that would be impacted. Businesses are closed, and buses and trains have limited demand at that hour. Using 2am as the designated time also prevents a time change that would shift back to the previous day.
Businesses are closed, and buses and trains have limited demand at that hour. Using 2am as the designated time also prevents a time change that would shift back to the previous day.