Daylight Savings time can affect workplace health & safety

Daylight Savings Time takes place this year on Sunday March 10, where we “spring ahead” and advance our clocks forward by one hour. This means that we will all wake up one hour earlier than normal.

Even though losing one hour doesn’t seem like much, it impacts our circadian rhythms and can cause a disruption in our schedules for a few days. This can affect our mental and physical health and increase the chances of accidents and injuries.

Sleep disturbance from the time change can cause workers to become more fatigued, experience headaches or migraines, and heighten feelings of depression, anxiety and mental exhaustion. Decreases in alertness, reaction time and decision-making ability all have the potential to affect the health and safety of ourselves and those around us while at work, on the road or at home.

Help your body prepare for the time difference with the following tips:

  • Gradually adjust your bedtime in the days leading up to the time change. By going to bed 10–15 minutes earlier every night and getting out of bed 10–15 minutes earlier, your body has more time to adjust.
  • On the evening of the time change, adjust your clocks forward by one hour and go to bed at your normal bedtime.
  • Don’t over-caffeinate for several hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid being late, which can cause you to rush. Prepare as much as you can the day before going to work (e.g. prepare breakfast/lunch the day before)
  • The morning hours will be darker, which may affect your commute to work.
  • Fatigue slows down your reaction time on the road, so remain alert and avoid driving if you are drowsy or tired.
  • Check in with your co-workers to see if they are experiencing any impact from the time change.