With daylight saving just around the corner, most of us just think about the hour of lost sleep, and vow to remember to change the car clock this year. But during the adjustment period, there is also a spike in car crashes. A Swedish study even found an increase in heart attacks in the first three days following the change. Here’s all you need to know to stay safe and survive daylight savings.
Does daylight saving really cause more car accidents?
Studies have shown that the rate of car accidents increases on the Monday following the clock shift. A study in Colorado even found as much as a 17-percent increase in traffic incident related deaths on that day. Traffic fatalities across the whole week were also higher than average. Lower visibility from darker mornings reduces safety, but experts say most accidents are due to fatigue behind the wheel.
What’s the deal with daylight saving?
New Zealand introduced daylight saving time in 1927. Daylight saving is the practice of changing our clocks during summer to move an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening. Also known as ‘spring forward’ and ‘summer time’, the purpose is to make better use of daylight.
Some parts of Australia, as well as parts of South America and Africa don’t observe daylight saving time because their daylight hours don’t change much between seasons.
Tips to survive daylight saving
As if Mondays aren’t hard enough, daylight savings has us dragging ourselves out of bed an hour earlier, to darker, colder mornings. Luckily there are a few tips to help get us through:
Ditch the after work drink
A nightcap will actually disrupt your sleep cycle, so avoid alcohol to get a good nights sleep.
A lighter meal will be more easily digested, and allow you to relax for a good nights sleep. Skip anything high fat, fried, carby or sugary.
Exposing yourself to lights as soon as you wake will help reset your body clock. Equally, dimming the lights earlier before bed will promote melatonin, the sleepy hormone.
Don’t start with a sleep debt
Ensure you get a decent night sleep the few nights before daylight saving. Most adults need between seven and nine hours a night. You can even prepare for the change by going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night for the week prior, until you are going to sleep around an hour earlier.