Gut Check: Making simple sense out of life
By Lenore Skomal Erie Times-News staff blogger
Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website   Read more about this blog.
Posted: March 13th, 2012
Daylight Saving Time increases risk of heart attacks

The more we hear about the fallout from daylight savings time, the more we all have to worry about its adverse effects.

The history of the time change stems back to Benjamin Franklin, it wasn’t instituted in this country until until 1918. And from there the history is confusing at best, because of different administrations and laws that allowed states to opt in or opt out. In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, which standardized the length of DST.

Since then, the pros and cons of DST have been debated, having more to do with the ec0nomic aspects of the time change.

Now, health concerns have gotten society’s attention. According to Science Daily,

“The Monday and Tuesday after moving the clocks ahead one hour in March is associated with a 10 percent increase in the risk of having a heart attack,” says UAB Associate Professor Martin Young, Ph.D., in the Division of Cardiovascular Disease. “The opposite is true when falling back in October. This risk decreases by about 10 percent.”

The Sunday morning of the time change doesn’t require an abrupt schedule change, but, Young says, heart-attack risk peaks on Monday when most people rise earlier to go to work.”

Why is that?

For one, sleep deprivation, which increases a person’s risk of heart attack and is a byproduct of losing an hour.

Secondly, there’s the circadian clock, by which our individual cells live. It gets thrown off when there is a time change, which makes us out of sync with our responsibilities and create undue stress in our days.

Finally, our immunity clock. The immune response has a clock, too. And when our day is shortened or lengthened by a time change, it affects our body’s ability to fight disease.

Bottom line: Breaking from our routines, especially from a time perspective, can have adverse effects on our health.

You can read the entire article here.


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