Daylight Saving Deaths Jump Today, Experts Warn Americans To Be Cautious

Kim LaCapria - Author

May 7 2014, Updated 5:28 p.m. ET

Daylight saving time deaths are a recently observed phenomenon — and perhaps a statistically small one — but nonetheless, experts warn those forced to wake “early” Sunday after clocks skipped ahead to be careful due to a known spike in certain fatalities the Monday after the time change.

The phenomenon of daylight saving time deaths and other injury or even illness is a relatively new one, but also another datapoint for those who believe the habit of skipping ahead and hour and behind an hour twice a year is one that should be retired due to the fact few of us are out tilling fields and most have electricity.

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But daylight saving time remains in place, and as such, risk is higher today than it is nearly any other calendar day of the year. Clocks changed yesterday, but most people were not affected as severely as on Monday, when possibly sleep-deprived Americans are forced to go to work or school.

A study in the 90s indicated that daylight saving deaths could increase due to traffic accidents — of which there are nearly nine percent more of the first Monday following daylight saving. A study a few years after that noted a “significant increase” in traffic fatalities following daylight saving.

A decade later, researchers observed daylight saving time deaths could also be more common due to workplace accidents — which unsurprisingly are also far higher the Monday after daylight saving time, noted in a Journal of Applied Psychology study published in 2009. Not only is the prevalence and issue, but the accidents are more severe during this period.

Thinking of staying in to avoid a date with the grim reaper? You should also know daylight saving time deaths are sometimes linked to an increased rate of cardiovascular event in the first week after clocks skip ahead, a recent study indicated.

Suicide is another possible daylight saving time risk, and the Los Angeles Times points to a 2009 study out of Australia noting that “small changes in chronobiological rhythms are potentially destabilizing in vulnerable individuals.” Even if you do go to work, the paper notes, productivity remains lower on the Monday following daylight saving time contrasted with a normal day.

While the Monday after daylight saving time is when most deaths occur, it could take several weeks for many people to fully adjust.


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