Beware, everyone. Daylight saving time this weekend can have a dangerous effect on driving, most likely thanks to a lack of Zs.
Research shows the time-turning tradition can lead to more traffic-related accidents. A 2014 study from the University of Colorado at Boulder found that pedestrians are more likely to be killed by a car during the daylight saving time period than any other time of the year. Researchers from the study found a 17 percent increase in traffic fatalities on the Monday after the shift.
“The majority of us who are already sleep deprived will feel that loss of this hour of sleep more than ever,” Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist and board-certified sleep specialist, wrote on The Huffington Post.
This could lead to more sleepy people behind the wheel, which not only endangers themselves but others. As Breus explains, “drowsy driving is deadly even if you aren’t the drowsy one.”
Experts say the best way to avoid crashes is to not to hit the road if you’re tired. That includes pulling over if you catch yourself starting to snooze at the wheel. And, if you’re a pedestrian, make sure to stay alert to your surroundings.
If you’re looking to minimize some of the exhausting effects of losing sleep, here are a few tips:
- Hit the hay early. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults log approximately seven to nine hours of Zs ― whichever feels the healthiest to them. Keep up your regular sleep pattern and adjust your bedtime to reach your hours.
- Ditch the nightcap. It might help you drift off at first, but alcohol disrupts your sleep overall. You may end up waking up in the middle of the night or not getting quality rest.
- Don’t work out right before you go to bed. Exercise does help you sleep, but give your body enough time to unwind before you hit the sack.
- Take a warm shower or bath before bed. The heating and then cooling of your body temperature may prep your mind for rest.
Check out these other tricks to help you fall sleep better. May the roads stay safe and your brain stay well-rested.