Many people feel out of sync in the days or weeks after Daylight Saving Time. Springing forward an hour might not sound like much, but it can actually have a profound impact on our bodies and our health. In fact, studies have shown that people are at an increased risk for heart attack in the days after the time change.
This is because losing one hour of sleep can have a major impact on our Circadian rhythm. Studies have shown that the jump forward in time causes us to lose 40 minutes of sleep each night that our body tries to adjust. For someone already at risk of a heart attack, this subtle change can be the push the body needs to suddenly have a heart attack.
It is not just an increased risk for heart attack that happens after Daylight Saving Time. People are at greater risk for car accident and workplace injuries in the days immediately following the spring forward. Again, the lack of sleep can cause disorientation and foggy thinking which can lead to accidents. And because it is darker in the morning, people have trouble adjusting to this new drive to work. So in the coming days and weeks, be careful as you drive to work to watch out for drowsy or disoriented drivers.
Some people think this spring forward is due to farmers, but it was actually started by the Germans in World War I in an effort to conserve coal during wartime. Benjamin Franklin had actually proposed something similar in the 1700s in an effort to conserve candles. Where the myth of the farmer came from is unclear, but it was done as a way to conserve energy and, ostensibly, this is why we do it today (although our air conditioners use the majority of our energy so it’s completely useless in that regard).
Regardless of why we do it, everyone needs to remain safe this week both driving and at work. And if you are someone who is at risk for a heart attack, take care to make sure you get enough sleep. This way, we can all prevent serious injury while we enjoy the later summer evenings.
At Davis Law Center, we want everyone to remain safe and healthy. If you have been injured in an accident, contact a personal injury attorney today.