Turning the clock forward this Saturday night could have some dangerous side-effects. While many will attribute locking their keys in the car or wearing their underwear into the shower to mere foolishness, some studies suggest Daylight Savings is to blame. Some cities, such as Kamloops, believe it's worth getting rid of the time change altogether.
A study by UBC professor Dr. Stanley Coren found that traffic accidents increased by 8 per cent during Daylight Savings Time. Indeed, ICBC is asking drivers to take precaution as they cruise the roads with one less hour of sleep under their belts. An ICBC survey reports 34 per cent of B.C. drivers feel less alert after the time change.
“The change in our sleep cycle can cause unique dangers on our roads as some drivers will feel more fatigued than usual,” Dr. John Vavrik, a psychologist at ICBC, says. “Fatigue is especially dangerous when combined with distractions so it’s important that drivers limit any potential distractions behind the wheel.”
ICBC suggests going to bed early on Saturday, being watchful during darker morning commutes, and cleaning your headlights in preparation for Daylight Savings.
A link between springing forward and getting a heart attack is also documented in various studies. This has to do with the disruption of sleep patterns and biological rhythms.
The most common side-effects seem to be forgetting to do something, being late for work, being unproductive at work, and acting grumpy. These symptoms may persist for a whole week before the body adjusts.
In one survey, respondents said they went to an ATM to order food, stepped on a cat, walked into the wrong bathroom, or put their paycheck in the garbage. No error is beyond the reaches of Daylight Savings Time, so be prepared with these tips from the Better Sleep Council:
1. Gradually Transition into the Time Change: To minimize the impact of the switch to daylight saving time, make gradual adjustments. Go to bed 15 minutes early, starting several days before the change.
2. Sleepy? Take a Quick Nap: If you feel sleepy after the change to daylight saving time, take a short nap in the afternoon – no more than 20 minutes long.
3. Commit to 7-8 Hours of Sleep: The average adult needs 7-8 hours of quality sleep each and every night. Work backward from your wake time and commit to getting at least 7 hours of sleep every night.
4. Keep Regular Sleep Hours: Make sleep a priority by keeping consistent sleep (bedtime) and wake schedules – even on the weekends.
5. Exercise During the Day: Even moderate exercise, such as walking, can help you sleep better. Just make sure you don’t work out within two hours of bedtime.
6. Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol before Bed: Alcohol and caffeine (found in coffee, tea, chocolate, soft drinks, etc.) can interfere with sleep habits. Smokers should also avoid tobacco before bed, as it can lead to poor sleep.
7. Eat Light at Night: Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before bed. Eating too close to bedtime can interfere with sleep quality.
8. Relax before Bed: Create a bedtime ritual that is relaxing. Experts recommend reading a book, listening to soothing music or soaking in a hot bath or shower.
9. Create a Sleep Sanctuary: Transform your room into a haven of comfort and relaxation. Make sure your room is cool, quiet and free of distraction for the best possible sleep.
10. Evaluate Your Mattress and Pillows: Evaluate your mattress and pillows for proper comfort and support. If your mattress is seven years old or older, it may be time for a new one. In general, pillows should be replaced every year.