On Sunday, March 14, 2021, the clocks will “spring forward” from 2 am to 3 am and we will lose an hour of sleep. This hour difference may seem like a slight nuisance but according to a 2020 study by Current Biology, there is a 6 percent spike in crashes the Monday after people reset their clocks in the spring. The recent study also suggests that daylight savings time results in about 28 additional accident deaths. Why would that be? The University of Colorado Boulder suggests “Prior to 2007, we saw the risk increase in April, and when daylight saving time moved to March, so did the risk increase.” In other words, losing that hour of sleep can cause driver fatigue, decreasing awareness and reaction time, combined with driving in the dark, thus increasing the risk of accidents. The car accident lawyers of Rutter Mills know as well as anyone how that lost hour of sleep can adversely affect the driving ability.
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’s 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 2 am 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 2 am as the designated time also prevents a time change that would shift back to the previous day.