"Employees slept 40 minutes less (and) had 5.7% more workplace injuries," Barnes and Wagner said. ". . .these injuries being especially severe, and perhaps resulting in death."
So who to scapegoat?
Benjamin Franklin once suggested better synchronizing human life with solar time. No takers. Besides, few people then lived according to clock time. They woke up with the dawn or obeyed the toll of the church bells.
It wasn't until 1895 that someone proposed DST, according to Scientific American blogger Bora Zivkovic. A New Zealand naturalist, George Vernon Hudson, was studying insects and wanted to do more of it during daylight hours. Good thing he wasn't successful. He wanted a two-hour moveup every spring.
With the rationale of saving energy, the United States adopted DST in 1918. The Department of Transportation once claimed that DST saved the country 100,000 barrels of oil a day.
But now that home lighting doesn't consume the lion's share of energy, even power companies have said the cost savings of Daily Savings Time are minimal at best. (So minimal, that the Russians and Iceland have decided to stop seasonally fiddling with their clocks altogether.)
Blogger Zivkovic is a chronobiologist, a scientist who studies circadian rhythms. It's not only workplace injuries that rise the Monday after springing forward, he says. Traffic accidents also increase and "incidents of heart attacks rise sharply." Even cows don't like it, he says, and give less milk for several days. (Try milking a cow an hour earlier than it expects you.)
Bottom line: He's against it.
As are Barnes and Wagner. Though they allow that workers with jobs that don't require much "novel thinking" may not suffer as severely, they recommend that the bells should toll for DST and it should be abolished.
"Daylight Saving Time may save daylight," they warn, "but not without painful costs."
Contact staff writer Sam Wood at 215-854-2796, @samwoodiii or firstname.lastname@example.org.