Spring Forward, Surf More: How Losing Sleep to Daylight Saving Spurs Snack Attacks and Sneaky Web Browsing

Daylight saving time is creeping up on us once again, which means we’ll be moving our clocks ahead an hour this Sunday. You might think that losing just one hour of sleep is no big deal, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, people tend to lose about 40 minutes of sleep during this time and that can lead to a whole host of issues. Get ready for an army of tired web surfers who not only procrastinate at work but also tend to eat too much.

The Impact of Sleep Deprivation on Web Surfing

That Monday after daylight saving time, get ready for a massive onslaught of employees “cyberloafing” at work. This is the phenomenon where people spend a significant amount of time browsing entertainment websites and just goofing off when they should be working.

According to a study conducted by D. Lance Ferris and his colleagues from Penn State’s Smeal College of Business, the number of web searches related to entertainment rises sharply on that Monday compared to the previous and the following ones. The research pored over six years of data from Google to reach this conclusion.

So, what’s going on? A lack of sleep is impairing our self-control, and our sleep-deprived brains make it difficult for us to regulate how we spend our time. As our discipline wavers, we become more apt to seek out distractions in the form of cyberloafing.

Sleep Deprivation and Overeating

But it’s not just procrastination we need to be concerned about. If you’re among the many people who experience sleep deprivation after daylight saving time begins, be careful not to fall into the overeating trap.

Research from Sweden has found that losing sleep can actually activate parts of your brain that make you hungrier. The sleep-deprivation-induced hunger can lead to unhealthy snacking and excessive eating. This not only takes a toll on your health, but it also affects your productivity at work.

What You Can Do to Counteract the Effects

Now that you know what you’re up against, you’re probably wondering how you can overcome the obstacles posed by daylight saving time. The good news is that there are a few things you can do to help your body adjust to the time change and minimize the negative effects on your life.

Prioritize Sleep

First and foremost, make sure you prioritize sleep in the days leading up to daylight saving time. Try going to bed 15 to 20 minutes earlier than usual for several nights before the time change. This gradual adjustment can help you avoid a sudden 40-minute sleep loss. Also, consider creating a relaxing bedtime routine and creating an environment that promotes sleep, such as a cool, dark, and quiet room.

Cut Back on Caffeine and Alcohol

Caffeine can interfere with your ability to fall asleep, so consider cutting back or eliminating it altogether in the days leading up to daylight saving time. Additionally, alcohol might help you feel sleepy, but it can actually disrupt your sleep and make you more prone to insomnia, so it’s best to avoid it if possible.

Stay Active During the Day

Make it a point to engage in physical activities during the day to help tire your body out and promote restful sleep at night. A simple walk during lunch or a short workout session after work can make a world of difference in how well you sleep.

Make Healthier Food Choices

To counteract the increased hunger you might experience due to sleep deprivation, make a conscious effort to choose healthier snacks and meals. Opt for whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins to keep you satisfied and full without packing on the extra pounds.

Take Breaks at Work

Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself at work during those first few days of daylight saving time. Give yourself permission to take short breaks to rejuvenate your mind and body. This can help you maintain focus and productivity during the time when your brain might be urging you to procrastinate.

In conclusion, while daylight saving time may cause sleep deprivation, procrastination, and overeating, being aware of these potential pitfalls can help you take the necessary steps to adjust to the time change smoothly. Prioritize sleep, make healthier choices, and allow yourself some breaks at work to keep your life on track, even as the clocks spring forward.