by Lauren Tam
About a week ago, I wrote an essay and found an example that talked about the negative side of daylight savings. I made sure to write it down for this specific blog post. While I was researching, I found out that it was just in time for daylight savings! This year, daylight savings time (DST) is on March 14, 2021. DST originated in Germany during World War I to conserve energy and take advantage of the extended daylight. Now, fewer than half of all countries observe DST.
Peak Heart Attack Cases
Hospitals report a 24% spike in heart attack cases the day following (usually Monday) the one-hour time change. And evidently, there is a 21% reduction in heart attack cases the day after that. These statistics are collected from March 2010 and September 2013. In 2014, a study was published pointing out that heart attacks often happen on Monday mornings—no matter the time of year.
Matthew Walker, sleep expert and author of How We Sleep, says that the human body is not built for these kinds of adjustments. “That’s how fragile and susceptible your body is to even just one hour of lost sleep,” Walker said.
Initially and historically, these issues were blamed on inconsistent sleeping patterns because of the time shift and general dislike of Mondays. Dr. Emily Manoogian at The Salk Institute says, “It’s coordinating melatonin to help keep you drowsy, also keep your insulin from being secreted, so you don’t eat at night, and it also helps you wake up by inducing a peak of cortisol right before you wake up – to wake you up.” When that cortisol peak is mistimed, and you are already awake, it alters other aspects of your heart functioning.” Circadian disruption can be linked to cancer, cardiovascular disease, metabolic disease, every affective disorder, bipolar, major depression. With the high amount of disruption, high-risk patients may be greatly impacted by the one-hour loss.
Negative Health Effects
Those asleep during this change are deprived of 40 minutes of sleep. On top of that, we are more prone to make deadly mistakes on the road. Due to this sleep loss, DST has cost an extra 30 people their lives in the past 9 years. DST also reports more injuries at work, strokes. However, there is some evidence that extra evening light can reduce crime and increase the time people spend exercising, at least in certain climates.
Saskatchewan is the only province in Canada that does not observe DST. There has been on- and off-going talk about removing this time change altogether. Please realize the substantial research on why you should be more cautious on these particular days. Nevertheless, on any day, be observant and safe!