Saturday, March 10, 2012

Daylight Saving Time May Be Dangerous to Your Health

Posted By on Sat, Mar 10, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Daylight saving time—that moment when we are cruelly robbed of an hour of sleep while those few rays of spring morning sunlight that actually made it a little easier to get up are shifted to the end of the day.

Regardless of whether we like it, the time change is upon us—it begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 11—so we'd better be ready for it.

I'm no fan of the change. It seems rather silly to say that we have more hours of daylight when we have the same amount of time in the sun, we just call it something different and disrupt our lives in the process of renaming the hours. As it turns out, that disruption might in fact be dangerous for our health.

According to a story published by CNN, studies done around the world show that the switch to daylight saving time can actually have negative effects on our health. A study done in Sweden showed that the number of car accidents had a marked increase immediately following the time change, according to the article.

It also points to a study done by the Washington Hospital Sleep Center, which reports that the change disrupts the Circadian rhythms (aka, your internal clock), which times the release of the hormones that help us wake up, boost our metabolism and temperature.

A 2008 report in the New England Journal of Medicine even showed that the number of heart attacks were significantly increased in the three days following the time switch—what the study claimed was an effect of the disruption of those Circadian rhythms. And this isn't a little blip here; we're talking about a full 6-10 percent increase.

The CNN article goes on to cite an Australian study that showed an increase in suicide rates after the time change.

While there are some suggestions on how to adjust to daylight saving time more gracefully than by crashing your car on the way to work—one involves a full setup with a florescent light and a timer—it might just be best to stock up on coffee.

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