Spring forward. Fall back. Increased risk of heart attack? Daylight saving's dark side
EUGENE, Ore. - You know the drill:
Since 1918, most of the United States has made the twice annual switch from standard time to daylight saving time.
People react differently to the change.
"Either sleep in if I can, or just get up and deal with it, pretty much," University of Oregon student Ethan Quick said of the change to daylight saving time.
"I'd say I'm indifferent on the time change," Josh Tanke, another Duck, said. "I really don't see an hour as a big deal."
Professor David Wagner disagrees.
Wagner, a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, studies the impact of the time change on society as a whole.
"And what we found is that people have a difficult time adjusting to the time change, such that on average Americans get about 40 minutes less of sleep," he said. "The problem is even though the clocks have changed, our internal body clocks have a difficult time changing."
So what's the big deal?
"Some economists have estimated the costs to the American economy at over $430 million per year," Wagner said.
Wagner outlined the findings of his and related research in a recent piece penned for The Conversation.
On the cusp of the change to daylight saving time, he sat down with NBC 16 to talk about the various impacts of the time change.
AT THE OFFICE: "Cyberloafing" at the office goes up by 6 to 7 percent as people tired from the time change goof off online. "People at the time we did the study, searching for the Los Angeles Lakers, searching for concerts, Justin Bieber - that sort of thing," he said.
IN COURT: Judges are not immune to the change. "If you are in court on that sleepy Monday and facing the judge, look out," Wagner said. If a "sentencing is occurring on that sleepy Monday as we call it, then you're likely to get a much longer sentence. The change is about a five percent increase."
ON THE JOB: "Using a database of mining injuries from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health," Wagner wrote for The Conversation, "we discovered that the spring shift to daylight saving time resulted in a 6 percent increase in mining injuries and a 67 percent increase in workdays lost because of these injuries."
Wagner also points to research that shows an increased risk of heart attack and stroke for some vulnerable populations.
So what's to be done?
Wagner suggests that workplaces adjust schedules when the time changes.
"So rather than having an 8 o'clock meeting, let's say we make it 9 o'clock or 9:30 for the first few days," he said.
And what about states like Arizona and Hawaii, where the time change doesn't take place? Or Florida, where the state Senate and House adopted a bill to make the state the first in the union to adopt year-round daylight saving time?
Could such moves happen in Oregon - or even nationwide?
"The people within those states recognize that there's value in just sticking to one time convention," Wagner said. "Until we get to that point, I don't think we'll see movement."