Is Daylight Saving Time Bad for Your Health?

Daylight Saving Time (DST) had raised controversy ever since it was implemented about a century ago in the western world. The practice of moving one hour ahead and back during the summer and winter months, respectively, was first implemented during the WW I by Germany to reduce the consumption of electricity.  

However, a number of studies point out that not only DST does not help conserve electricity, but it also increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. In this article, we will find out what research studies say about the effect of DST on health.

Man reaching for clock
Photo by diego_cervoyayimages.com

The Effect of DST on Health

Research is mounting about the bad effect of DST on health.  A number of recent studies published in reputable journals claim that the habit of moving one hour forward and backward has a negative effect on the sleep-wake-cycle, which is also known as the circadian rhythm.

A study that was presented at the Annual Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology claimed that the incidence of the heart attacks increased on the day following the DST. The researchers found that there was about 25 percent increase in the incidence of a heart attack on the Monday following the DST as compared to other Mondays.

The researchers made the conclusion after examining 42,000 patient admissions in different hospitals in Michigan. They found that 32 heart attacks occurred on average during any particular Monday. However, this figure rose to an average of 40 heart attacks the Monday after the hours are moved by one hour each year.

A similar conclusion was drawn by a number of other research studies. For instance, a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology in 2013 found that the rate of heart attack increased the Sunday after the time was shifted by an hour.

Another study published in 2012 by researchers at the University of Alabama found that the rates of heart attacks increased by about 10 percent on the Monday and Tuesday after the change to DST.

Finally, a Swedish study published in 2018 found that the chances of a heart attack increased in the first three days after the shift to DST. The study found that the incidence of heart attacks increased by 10 percent on the first Tuesday and five percent on the first Monday after the change to DST.

How to Offset the Harmful Effects in Circadian Rhythm of DST?

Experts recommend that individuals can counteract the harmful effects of DST by taking a few simple measures. Individuals are advised to go to bed about half an hour earlier on Friday night that comes before Sunday when the clock is moved one hour forward.  In this way, the individual can undergo a natural transition to the time adjustment and avoid negative effects on the health.

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