The Dark Side of Daylight Saving Time: Science Sheds Light on Sleep Deprivation

Millions of North Americans woke up bleary-eyed and unusually fatigued today as they began their first work week of the year on daylight saving time. Each year, this adjustment forces everyone to move their clocks ahead before going to bed on Saturday night, and by Monday many are still feeling the effects of the hour of sleep that they lost.

Yet for many people, such as police officers, physicians, and home health aides, sleep deprivation is the norm—and it carries a heavy price in terms of lowered work productivity, an uptick in traffic accidents, and an increased number of heart attacks, research shows.

“It’s not the case that we adapt to our poor sleep,” University of Arizona psychology professor Richard Bootzin said in a presentation at the APS 23rd Annual Convention. “Poor sleep has consequences –and they’re quite long lasting, and it’s true at every developmental stage.”

Bootzin and other psychological scientists have conducted quite a bit of research that highlights the importance of sleep and the mental and physiological consequences of sleep deficits. Below is a sampling of articles that explore the science of sleep.

Rest for the Weary

Study Finds That Sleep Selectively Preserves Emotional Memories

Crew Schedules, Sleep Deprivation, and Aviation Performance

How Little Sleep Can You Get Away With?

Snooze Control:  Fatigue, Air Traffic and Safety

Understanding the Zombie Teen’s Body Clock

Can You Learn While You’re Asleep?

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