By David Saunders, Health Editor | UPDATED: 08:28, 08 July 2020
From an increase in workplace accidents to getting a harsher prison sentence, everyone getting an hour less sleep when the clocks go forward can cause ‘Sleepy Monday’ to be an unusual day.
Chances are you’ve been quite looking forward to the clocks springing forward and thrusting us into the warm, embracing arms of British Summer Time. Longer, lighter evenings and the promise of warm weather and BBQs are always welcome. But no doubt you’ve also heard people spouting that old adage, “but we get one less hour in bed!” Well, a researcher in the US has gone to extraordinary lengths to prove that ‘Sleepy Monday’ – the Monday following the clock-change – and the ensuing fatigue does indeed cause us to act strangely and reduce our cognitive function.
University of Washington business professor Christopher Barnes coined the term after he discovered that the day after we put the clocks forward is the one day a year that almost no one gets enough sleep, and the effects can be felt far and wide.
It’s common knowledge among most scientists, researchers, and anyone in the fitness and health industries that sleep is vital for proper cognitive function and that even one bad night’s sleep can cause you to be irritable and hamper your work performance.
The British Sleep Council conducted a study in 2017 that they termed The Great British Bedtime Study and found that the average bedtime for adults in the UK is between 10pm and 11pm and that only 1% of Brits are in bed before 9pm! 19% of us go to bed after midnight which means that with a wake-up time of 6am, those people will only be getting 6 hours of sleep a night which is not enough.
The National Sleep Foundation states that a healthy adult needs between 7 hours and 9 hours of sleep a night to function properly, although some adults need over 10 hours to feel at their best.But whether you’re a night owl or a morning lark, the effects of Sleepy Monday could catch you out anyway.
Researcher Christopher Barnes examined and analysed decades worth of data to discover interesting statistics and unusual behaviour that occurs on Sleepy Monday. He found that court judges tend to hand out harsher sentences, with criminals receiving on average a 5% longer sentence on Sleepy Monday. He and his team also found that work accidents increase by 5.7% on this day and fatal car crashes rise by a massive 6.5%.
So, what does this tell us? Apart from wanting to tell your boss that you’ll be working from home that day, it shows just how much a little sleep deprivation can affect us. If you’re trying to live a healthy lifestyle or lose some weight, don’t neglect your sleep habits!
Six hours a night is not enough for a healthy adult and you should be optimistically aiming for 10 hours of glorious shut-eye every night. It’s even better if you can get into the habit of going to bed and getting up at the same times every single day, weekday or weekend, and not trying to catch up on sleep at the weekend.
About the author: Alex Parren is a professional health and fitness writer as well as a certified personal trainer with years of experience. Alex writes for Sundried, a British activewear brand specialising in triathlon clothing.