The few days around Daylight Savings Time are one of the prime times for hospitals to be busy, in my experience. Do you have a healthy way to deal with the stress of changing your sleep hours?
The research is quite clear on the health effects of this meddling with time. In short, it’s not good for you, and spikes in both heart attacks3 and suicide4 in the days following daylight savings attest to the stark reality of such findings.
The adverse health effects of losing an hour of sleep when the clocks move forward–and the ripple-effect it causes for days and weeks afterward–are significant, and really highlight the importance of sleep for mental and physical functioning.
The “Monday cardiac phenomenon” has been recognized for some time.5More cardiac events occur on Mondays than any other day of the week, and changes in sleep associated with the transition from weekend to work week may play a significant role.
When daylight savings gets added into the mix, this risk tends to become even more pronounced One 2012 study6found that heart attacks increased by 10 percent on the Monday and Tuesday following the time change to DST. Heart attacks decreased by 10 percent on the first Monday and Tuesday after clocks are switched back in the fall.
According to the study’s author, Martin Young, Ph.D:
“Individuals who are sleep-deprived weigh more and are at an increased risk of developing diabetes or heart disease. Sleep deprivation also can alter other body processes, including inflammatory response, which can contribute to a heart attack.”
An earlier study7,8 found a five percent increase in heart attack in the first three weekdays after the switch to DST. The risk decreased again after clocks were reset back to standard time in the fall.
Kazakhstan abolished DST in 2005, citing health complications as the reason for its decision. In 2011, Russia’s president Dmitry Medvedev also cancelled DST due to the “stress and illness” it causes on human biological clocks.9
Productivity Goes Down and Accidents Go Up in Days Following DST Change
Studies also show DST causes the entire country to take an economic hit from lost productivity. When you consider that this happens once every year, the cumulative effect on productivity is likely to be very significant.
According to Till Roenneberg, a German chronobiologist, your circadian body clock (which is set by daylight and nighttime darkness) never adjusts to the gaining of an “extra” hour of sunlight at the end of the day during daylight saving time. So you may actually remain slightly “off” for the entirety of the DST season.
“The consequence of that is that the majority of the population has drastically decreased productivity, decreased quality of life, increasing susceptibility to illness, and is just plain tired,” Roenneberg has said.10
Data11 from the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health also shows an increase in the number and severity of work-related accidents on the Monday following DST.
According to one 2009 study,12 workplace accidents and injuries increase by nearly six percent, and nearly 68 percent more workdays are lost as a result of injuries following the change to DST.
Ditto for traffic accidents, which rise by about eight percent on the Monday following the changeover to DST.13 Fatal alcohol-related traffic accidents increase for the first week after setting the clocks ahead.14
Read the rest on Mercola