Time Zone Report

Following Daylight Saving Time legislation in the US

Why Worse Statistics on Monday Instead of Sunday?

One of our followers asked the following question on our Health and Well-Being page under the Areas of Concern menu:

I find it interesting that most studies site Monday morning as the day where sleep is lost. The DST change occurs on Sunday morning at 2:00 AM, so it’s actually Saturday night that you need to go to bed early. Those that don’t will be sleep deprived on Sunday.

Of course, it takes some of us a few days to acclimate, so perhaps that is part of it. The linked article reads:

“The first Monday after Daylight Saving Time begins each March is met with grumbles across the US, as most lose one precious hour of sleep.”

But it’s actually the day before. :)

Here’s my response.  While I don’t have much “real research” to quote, I’ve read a lot of DST-related articles and a few books, so I’ve got an “educated opinion” to share.

I think part of the issue is that it can take a few days before people’s sleep patterns adjust.  In fact, some of the statistics I’ve read even indicate the highest increase (especially in heart attacks) is on Tuesday morning.  Just my opinion, but that could be from the cumulative effect of several nights of less-than-optimal sleep. Also, I’ve read a good bit of anecdotal evidence that many religious folks arrive an hour late for church: some, because they forgot to “spring forward”, and others because they overslept.

I also think it’s the different nature (for most people) between Sunday and Monday.

For Sunday’s church-goers:

  • They probably look forward to their time of fellowship, so it’s generally a low-stress morning
  • They most likely choose a place of worship close to home, so any “groggy driving” due to sleep deprivation is over a short distance
  • They have only experienced one night of lost sleep – most people recover reasonably well from one night of poor sleep

Of course, for the non-religious types, perhaps sleeping in “an hour later” (by the clock, anyway) isn’t a big deal, so no stress, little or no travel, etc.

On Monday:

  • Now there’s the (normal?) stress of a work day for the majority of folks
  • Driving distances tend to be longer and more heavily traveled (all the non-church folks who slept in on Sunday still have to go to work on Monday)
  • There’s two nights of sleep loss for most folks who haven’t taken action to adjust their body clocks

We can assume that many people get their body clock in sync by Tuesday, but those that have more trouble adjusting will now be working on three days of poor sleep.

Just my thoughts there.

To combat the sleep loss issue, I recommend going to bed 20 minutes early on Friday night, then 40 minutes early on Saturday night. Then, by Sunday evening when you go to bed that your normal time by the clock, you’re really just adjusting another 20 minutes to the solar/body clock, and by Monday morning, you shouldn’t have as many issues.

Updated: March 5, 2015 — 10:02 am

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