Changing the clocks an hour ahead for daylight saving time doesn't just cost us sleep -- it might also be costing the American economy as much as $434 million, according to a new index.
"The hour of sleep we lose each spring as part of daylight saving time has a broader collateral impact that this study has quantified in dollars and cents," Dan Schecter, who is the creator of SleepBetter.org, said in a statement. "While we may appreciate the extra hour of daylight that comes with moving our clocks ahead, this study provides a prudent reminder that it's a good idea to try to make up for that missing hour of sleep elsewhere."
The new index, developed by Chmura Economics & Analytics, shows the financial toll of an hour's sleep lost, based on past research on heart attack incidence (published in the New England Journal of Medicine), workplace injury in mining and construction (published in the Journal of Applied Psychology) and cyberloafing (published in the Journal of Applied Psychology) all with regard to daylight saving time. There were 360 metro areas included in the index (not including Hawaii and Arizona, since they do not observe daylight saving).
Researchers noted that the actual financial toll may even be higher, because the index did not include impacts on car accidents or injuries in other fields (like transportation or manufacturing). A past study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed an association between loss of sleep from DST and an increased car accident risk.
Based on the criteria used to develop this index, Morgantown, West Virginia, experienced the worst losses from daylight saving -- losing $445,685. That breaks down to each of the town's 129,709 residents losing $3.40; the national average found in the study was $1.70 per person.
This year, daylight save time begins on Sunday, March 10 at 2 a.m. That means people who live in areas affected by DST should move their clocks forward by an hour. While the purpose of daylight saving is supposedly to save energy, research has been mixed on whether it actually has any benefit in that area. National Geographic has a great overview of energy, with regard to daylight saving time, here.