Daylight Saving Time May Pose Health Risks

Daylight saving time might not only short you an hour of sleep this weekend — it also could have some adverse health risks. Although most of the United States will be setting back their clocks one hour Sunday at 2 am, those who do and still need to wake up early Sunday morning will be deficient of more than simply an hour of sleep.

According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, your ability to sleep properly can suffer for up to a week after daylight saving time starts. For some, the new difference in times is mostly imperceptible, but for others it can be much more noticeable. Some of the daylight saving casualties may include the following:

Studying Focus

A 2009 study by Sleep Medicine reported that more children who go through a daylight saving time change feel the effects of that time change for up to three weeks.

Wasting Time at Work

The Journal of Applied Psychology reports that workers who have just experienced a daylight saving time shift will waste more time online on the first day after daylight saving time than they normally would. The group measured Google searches for terms like “YouTube,” “music,” “ESPN,” and others to determine that people simply wasted more time just after daylight saving time.

Suicide Risk

The journal Sleep and Biological Rhythms reported after a 2008 study that Australian men were more likely to commit suicide in the weeks immediately following a daylight saving time shift.

Traffic Accidents

Perhaps the one area in which there is an obvious difference between occurrences before daylight saving time and after daylight saving time is in the number of traffic accidents. A 2004 study published in Accident Analysis & Prevention concluded that making daylight saving time an all-year occurence could save more than 360 pedestrian and motorist lives every year.

Increased Heart Attacks

Those who have weak hearts should be particularly cautious around daylight saving time. On the Monday after daylight saving time, the risk of heart attack goes up from 5 to 10 percent. It would seem that the lack of sleep may cause inflammation of the heart in some people. Gradually cells will adjust to the new time settings, but the initial time shift could catch them off guard and cause issues.

What about you? Have you ever experienced any health problems after daylight saving time? Do you feel there is value in changing the clocks twice a year or not? Let us know in the comments.

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