Sleep Experts Say People Are Crankier After Fall Time Change
As strange as it may sound, a new study says that we're pretty angry right after we "fall back." A lot angrier than when we "spring forward."
I always figured that losing an hour when we move the clocks forward in Spring was a reason to be a little peeved. You're giving up an extra hour of sleep, why wouldn't you be cranky? I'm sure I wouldn't be super-pleasant about someone shaking me awake an hour before my alarm goes off, would you?
Conversely, wouldn't you have warm feelings for that person who told you to sleep in another hour?
You'd think so, but as it turns out, we have some anger issues to work out in the aftermath a setting our clocks back like we did over the weekend.
A new study from the University of Pennsylvania finds that on the Monday after Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends, documented cases of physical assault increase, with the opposite effect happening after DST begins.
Now, there are some bad things that go along with the Spring start of DST. More car accidents, more workplace injuries, more heart attacks, reduced test scores, and higher suicide rates are just some of those less than desirable incidents. But, it seems as though we're not as ready to punch someone in the face as we are in the Fall. In the Spring, the incidence of assault actually falls three percent.
While there is no clear explanation for this somewhat puzzling finding, the researchers hashed out a few possibilities, such as the presence of internal biases.
“You think, ‘If I don’t get a lot of sleep, I’m going to be cranky and angry.’ You assume that’s the way you would react,” surmises researcher Rebecca Umbach. “Your intention is to act more aggressively, but your behavior does not reflect that because you’re tired. You’re too lethargic and sleepy to act.”
The researchers note that most people don’t immediately adjust their sleep patterns to the time change, which may actually bode well.
“Before we hit that snooze button, perhaps we should stop and think,” Raine suggests. “Hit the button, and we might end up at least a little grumpier at work, and possibly more aggressive.”
By the way, there seems to be a growing movement that wants to see the world with just one time zone.