Daylight Saving Time is Literally Killing Us

clocks daylight saving
Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday, Mar 11, 2018
Brian Snyder/Reuters
  • Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday, March 11, 2018.
  • Early that morning, most phones and computers will automatically shift an hour ahead.
  • The interruption to our internal clocks literally kills people: incidents of heart attacks, strokes, and fatal car accidents all spike around the start of Daylight Saving Time each year.

Daylight saving time is a killer.

The annual ritual in which we trade an hour of morning light for evening brightness may seem like a harmless shift.

But each year, on the Monday after this springtime switch, hospitals report a 24% spike in heart attack visits around the country.

Just a coincidence? Probably not. Doctors see the opposite trend in the fall: on the Tuesday after we turn back the clocks, heart attack visits drop 21% as people get a little extra pillow time.

The reason that springing the clocks forward can kill us comes down to interrupted sleep schedules. This Sunday, instead of the clock turning from 1:59 to 2:00 a.m. as usual, it will jump an hour to 3:00 a.m.

Researchers estimate we’ll all deprive ourselves of an extra 40 minutes of sleep because of this.

“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.

Walker said this “global experiment” we perform twice a year is a sign of how sensitive our bodies are to the whims of changing schedules: in the fall, the shift is a blessing, and in the spring, it’s a fatal curse.

The tragic heart attack trend only lasts about a day, but our bodies may not fully recover from the springtime bump for weeks. We’re also prone to make more deadly mistakes on the roads. Researchers estimate that car crashes in the US caused by sleepy daylight-saving drivers likely cost 30 extra people their lives over the nine-year period from 2002-2011.

“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 bump in suicides at this time of year, too.

For these reasons, states like Florida and Massachusetts are starting to lobby to ditch the switch, as ABC News reports. (Hawaii and Arizona already ignore it.)

US Marines Sunset
With daylight saving time, we’ll gain an hour of evening light, but what will we lose?
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Adam Dublinske

Why we ‘save’ daylight for the evenings

Daylight Saving Time was originally concocted as a way to save energy, andimplemented during World War I in Germany. More recent research suggests it’sprobably not saving us any megawatts of power at all, but there’s some evidence that the evening light can reduce crime andincrease the time people spend exercising, at least in certain climates.

But fewer than half of the countries in the world participate in this biannual clock-changing ritual, and the tradition inevitably costs some people their lives.

So while you might enjoy the extra end-of-day light next week, be extra careful with your heart and your car keys.

SEE ALSO: Daylight-saving time is dumb and we should get rid of it

3 thoughts on “Daylight Saving Time is Literally Killing Us

  1. New World Order: Change Your Clocks!
    Two times a year, a small group of folks get to determine that their “robots” go to their clocks and change them to fall in lock step with the “commands” of a hidden few. Now that’s power!

    Imagine how they must feel when billions of people follow suit across the expanse of the entire planet. Everybody, particularly in the Western world, follows suit. Billions of hands on clocks around the world. Billions of people finding reasons to believe this disruption is fine. They make excuses, they warn, they intimidate, they complain, but in the final analysis, they all comply. Now, that’s power!

    So the next time you feel you must point out that there is a “New World Order” ask your self, if you changed your clocks forth in spring and back in the fall. Ask yourself, were you effected, even in the slightest by others changing their clocks, ask if you were happy you didn’t have to change your computer clock, your cell phone and any other gadget you have that simply does the job for you.
    This Video:

  2. Add this to all the “smart” meters and other RF emitting toxic waves and we’re all goners.
    This is a stupid idea, just set it ahead for spring and then leave it there! The whole day light savings time always seemed stupid to me.
    People don’t get enough sleep as it is!

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