Daylight Saving Time is Literally Killing us

November 5, 2018

Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 4, 2018.

At 2:00 a.m. that morning, most phones and computers will automatically shift an hour back, and we’ll get an extra hour of sleep.

The interruption to our internal clocks is a welcome reprieve each fall, but in the spring it 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 the springtime switch, hospitals report a 24% spike in heart attack visits around the country.

Doctors see the opposite trend in the fall: The day after we turn back the clocks, heart attack visits drop 21% as people enjoy a little extra pillow time.

On Sunday, November 4, instead of the clock turning from 1:59 to 2:00 a.m., it will repeat the hour, ticking back to 1:00 a.m. again. (Shift-workers, worry not: federal law mandates you will still get paid for that extra hour of moonlit work.) That extra hour of rest may seem like good news this weekend, but over the long haul, the interrupted sleep schedules that result from shifting the clocks back and forth may be bad for our health.

Researchers estimate that each spring we deprive ourselves of an extra 40 minutes of sleep because of the change. Our bodies may not fully recover from the shift for weeks, though the tragic heart attack trend only lasts about a day. 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.

“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.

“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.

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Daylight-saving time is a curse against humanity, and we should end it forever

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