Daylight Saving Time

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Daylight Saving Time

Be extra careful for a few days

By Elizabeth Hanink, RN, BSN, PHN
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Whose idea was Daylight Saving Time anyway? Benjamin Franklin deserves the credit (or the blame). What’s the point? The idea behind Daylight Saving Time is that if sunset is at a later hour, there will be less time between nightfall and bedtime, reducing the use of lights and appliances (not that Ben Franklin knew about appliances).

Does this attempt at energy conservation really work? Studies have returned mixed results. A 2008 report by the Department of Energy concluded that regional variations made it impossible to predict energy savings nationwide.

Allow Time to Adjust
What is not in question is that the semiannual time change does affect human behavior. Springing forward increases the feeling of jet lag that too many of us have already. Some people need up to a week to adjust.

The number of workplace accidents increases with the Daylight Saving Time change each March, as does the severity of those accidents. Think about how difficult simple changes in shift can be for nurses who rotate or who routinely work nights, with days off spent in the desperate pursuit of lost sleep.

Be Extra Careful
In two separate studies, graduate students at Michigan State University showed that the time change resulted in an average of 40 minutes less sleep, a 5.7 percent increase in workplace injuries and nearly 68 percent more workdays lost to injury.

Those numbers are significant, especially in industries involving public safety or jobs requiring a high degree of concentration, like nursing. The results: more frequent medication errors, sleep inertia and flaring tempers, making the workplace both unpleasant and dangerous. 

This article is from workingnurse.com.

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