Daylight savings leads to more accidents, heart attacks, studies show

Daylight Saving Time leads to more accidents, heart attacks, studies show. (Photo: Simon Shek/Flickr)

Losing an hour of sleep is tough-and studies are showing just how bad the effects are on the human body.

Daylight Saving time, where we set clocks forward an hour, losing an hour, took place on Sunday. The change leads to an increased number of heart attacks that may take place on Monday, according to a University of Alabama at Birmingham expert.

"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," the University’s Associate Professor Martin Young said, according to Science Daily.

"The opposite is true when falling back in October. This risk decreases by about 10 percent," Young said.

He says that though there is no concrete reason why there is an increase, it could be because of sleep deprivation as well as the body’s circadian clock being thrown off.

The United States started observing DST time during World War I as a way to preserve energy. Even though the change brings more hours of sunlight during the warmer months, daylight savings is not always welcomed. The online petition End Daylight Saving Time, argues that the change is more burden than it’s worth.

Last year, Russia canceled Daylight Saving Time time for all of its time zones because President Dmitry Medvedev said the "stress and illnesses" on the human biological clocks was too much. Within the United States, portions of Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands do not participate in daylight savings time.

In addition to the rise in the risk of heart attacks, some have found that there is an increased rise in traffic accidents on the Monday following the beginning of DST. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the change lead to an eight percent increase in traffic accidents.

"A lot of motorists don't realize that just the loss of one hour of sleep can throw your circadian rhythm out of wack, and as a result, the Monday after the switchover we see more crashes than the Monday before or the Monday thereafter," John Townsend, AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman, said according to WAMU.