Daylight-saving time is literally killing us
Daylight-saving time in the US begins on Sunday, March 10, 2019 at 2 a.m.
That morning, most phones and computers will automatically jump an hour forward, and we'll lose an hour of sleep.
The interruption can kill people: Incidents of heart attacks, strokes, and fatal car accidents all spike around the start of daylight-saving time each year.
Hilary Brueck, Business Insider
Mar 7, 2019
Daylight-saving time is a killer.
The annual ritual in which we "gain" an hour of evening light by pushing the clocks forward may seem like a harmless shift. But each year on the Monday after the springtime switch, hospitals report a 24% spike in heart-attack visits around the US.
Just a coincidence? Probably not. Doctors see the opposite trend in the fall: The day after we turn back the clocks, heart attack visits drop 21% as people enjoy a little extra pillow time.
"That's how fragile and susceptible your body is to even just one hour of lost sleep," sleep expert Matthew Walker, author of "How We Sleep," previously told Business Insider.
The reason that springing the clocks forward can kill us comes down to interrupted sleep schedules. This Sunday, March 10, instead of the clock turning from 1:59 to 2:00 a.m. as usual, it will tick to 3:00 a.m. instead.
For those of us who will be asleep in bed, researchers estimate we'll all deprive ourselves of an extra 40 minutes of sleep because of the clock change. And night-shift workers will get paid only for seven hours of work instead of the usual eight, according to federal law.
Walker said daylight-saving time, or DST, is a kind of "global experiment" we perform twice a year. And the results show just how sensitive our bodies are to the whims of changing schedules: In the fall the shift is a blessing; in the spring it's a fatal curse.
In addition to the heart-attack trend, which lasts about a day, researchers estimate that car crashes caused by drivers who were sleepy after clocks changed likely cost an 30 extra people in the US their lives over the nine-year period from 2002 to 2011.
"The brain, by way of attention lapses and micro-sleeps, is just as sensitive as the heart to very small perturbations of sleep," Walker explains in his book.
The problems don't stop there. DST also causes more reports of injuries at work, more strokes, and may lead to a temporary increase in suicides. Our bodies may not fully recover from the springtime bump for weeks.
Why we 'save' daylight for the later hours of the day ...
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