Fall back, spring forward, many of us are used to the daylight savings time (DST) practice, but what are the effects of daylight savings time on kids?
As we’ve been told DST is supposed to help the economy. DST was put in place to encourage people to shop when they get off work.
But it’s questionable whether or not DST, benefits the economy or the farmers . We need better quality information about patterns of electricity usage. And a new study suggests that, because they are tired, people waste more time “cyberloafing” at work following daylight saving time — behavior that results in a major loss of productivity.
What really concerns me, however, are the immediate, personal costs we pay for lost sleep.
In 2009, German researchers published a study measuring daytime sleepiness in adolescents before and after the shift to DST.
Not surprisingly, kids reported more daytime sleepiness the day after they set their clocks forward, and “night owls” had the most trouble.
But here’s what’s interesting. The effect didn’t last for just a day or two. These kids suffered from the negative effects of daylight saving time for two weeks.
What does this mean?
The researchers figure that “class and school performance tests should not take place in the first week(s) after the transition into DST.”
And if we we’re concerned about the effects of daytime sleepiness on adolescent test performance, what about the rest of it?
What about learning new things in the classroom?
Making everyday decisions?
Getting along with your friends and family?
Handling emotionally difficult events?
We know that sleeplessness impacts all of those things, for kids and adults. If daylight saving time can disrupt our sleep patterns for up to two weeks, how much trouble does that cause altogether?
There is even evidence that the lost hour associated with DST increases your risk of a heart attack. In a recent Swedish study, researchers examined a national database for reports of people experiencing acute myocardial infarction. People were more likely to suffer a heart attack during the first week after the spring clock shift forward.
The effect was slight, but keep in mind: It was averaged over the entire population of people who got hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction. Very likely, some people were much more affected by the sleep disruption than were other people.
So the heart attack risk associated with daylight saving time depends on your individual circumstances. Decreasing stress and making sure to get enough sleep can lessen the effects of daylight savings time on kids.