Come this Sunday, millions of people worldwide who live in countries that observe daylight saving time will need to spring forward one hour. That means the undesirable time change is here – millions will wake up a little grumpier for having lost an hour sleep in the process. Or, you could use the tried-and-true “I forgot about the time change, sorry I’m an hour late” excuse for work on Monday, and that might help ease the pain a little bit.
There’s an element of seriousness to the above statement. The shift to daylight saving time has been linked with decreased productivity in the workplace in a few ways. That goes past the obvious droves of people who really will show up to work an hour late on Monday, on purpose or not. That single lost hour of sleep tends to have a bigger impact than many realize. A Penn State study revealed a link between the time change and an increase in aimless Internet browsing (termed cyberloafing – it’s nice to know that actually has a name now) on the job. Researchers reference the well-documented link between a lack of sleep and decreased impulse control in the frontal lobe of the brain as a possible cause of the spike in cyberloafing after the time change hits.
But, I’m guessing relatively few violins are going to be out for the woes of workplace productivity for companies. As it turns out, that lost hour of sleep has some just-as-nasty effects on the individual. The human sleep cycle is a sensitive thing. Maximizing the health benefits of sleep requires us to have a consistent sleeping schedule and a full seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Like with most other routines, it often only takes a ripple to throw everything out of order. The adjustment to daylight saving time takes far longer than just a few days or a week, even if the change is hard to perceive from day to day. It can lead to a nasty pattern of a lack of quality sleep – resulting in an increase in on the job injuries and in withering stink-eyes from those who haven’t had their morning coffee yet.
So, come Monday morning, be sure to do your best to keep your wits about you through blurred eyes. Might as well make the best out of a bad situation. On the bright side, the masses of people who have no discernible sleeping schedule will feel little to no effects of the time change. I’ll let you decide whether or not that’s a good thing.