October 13, 2019
Daylight saving time ended at 2 a.m. today (Sunday, Nov. 3). Across most of the U.S., people turned their clocks back an hour and will spent an extra hour in the dark each evening.
Studies say we not only lose hundreds of millions of dollars during the daylight saving time transition, but it impacts our health and more.
And while many people enjoyed the extra hour for sleeping or getting an early start of the day, many also dread when we’ll all turn our clocks forward again in the spring and lose an hour. More people have been calling for an end to the practice of daylight saving time, and numerous studies have found links between the time change and negative consequences.
Researchers have linked daylight saving to increased risk of heart problems like strokes, heart attacks and atrial fibrillation. Women undergoing in vitro fertilization and had a prior pregnancy loss experienced higher rates of miscarriage during daylight saving time.
The start of daylight saving time sees a measurable increase in criminal sentence lengths, while the end coincides with a decrease in assaults, studies found. Teens lose sleep on school nights after springing forward. More people are diagnosed with depression after falling back. And researchers have even found increased “cyberloafing” among office workers after the start of daylight savings time.
“In the spring, the day after we move into daylight saving time, there are more car accidents, greater stock market losses, more workplace injury, reduced test scores and higher suicide rates,” Greg Ridgeway, who co-authored a 2017 study from the American Association for the Advancement of Science on daylight saving’s effects on sleep, said in a press release.
Health effects from daylight saving time are caused by a mismatch between the body’s internal clock and the external clock of work, school and the sun, circadian biologists told The Associated Press. Till Roenneberg, a circadian rhythm specialist at Ludwig-Maximilian University in Germany, told the AP that a mismatch of just one hour daily is enough to cause negative effects related to metabolism, blood pressure and hormones.
In 2016 the JPMorgan Chase Institute found that the switch back to standard time is associated with a drop in spending between 2.2% and 4.9%, depending on where you live.
Chmura Economics & Analytics looked at the total economic loss caused by daylight saving time via increased heart attacks, workplace injuries and cyberloafing. They estimated a total cost of more than $433 million across the U.S. in 2016.
Daylight saving time runs from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November. The U.S. government first enacted daylight saving time in 1918 as a way to conserve coal during World War I. The practice became law in 1966 with the federal Uniform Time Act.
Hawaii and most of Arizona are the only two states that don’t observe daylight saving time. But at least 18 states have considered bills in the past few years to move permanently to either to standard time or daylight saving time.
How Can Small Businesses Take Advantage of the Economic Impact of Daylight Saving Time?
If small businesses can’t depend on unexpected daylight hours to stimulate sales, are there any benefits they can extract from the practice? Is there any economic impact of daylight saving time on small businesses?
Some businesses actually plan their inventory rollouts around the change in time, such as online custom bedding site Flaneur.
“Based on previous years’ experiences, we launched the Introducing Flaneur collection that includes red, purple, and warm earthy tones because of consumers’ interest in creating a bed set that either brightens their room during the dark winter days or provides a cozy refuge,” says the company’s spokesperson.
Companies also recognize that the end of DST serves as a reminder to consumers that the holiday season, the cold, winter, and so on, are right around the corner.
“When the clocks roll back in the fall, it serves as a cue for people that it’s nearly winter and the cold will be coming soon. This helps remind them about the best way to stay warm while enjoying the outdoor scenery—hot tubs,” says Jay Labelle, the owner of hot tub cover company The Cover Guy. “It signals to my client base to check if their hot tub is in good condition, as well as their covers. My sales rise this time of year, and anything that helps my customers remember the cold is coming is the reason for it.”
If you have a seasonal business that does its best sales in the cold months, the end of DST is probably the best time to gear up for your cold weather run.
Sources: American Association for the Advancement of Science, JPMorgan Chase Institute, Chmura Economics & Analytics, Fundera and Money.com