A lot criticize Daylight savings time or DST. In March, some countries advance their clocks by an hour and this wreaks havoc on our bodies, and in some case, in very serious ways. Here are some effects of DST and even though chances of DST causing these severe and fatal incidents are extremely rare, daylight saving has been linked to these incidents.
Increased Heart Attack Risk
A Swedish study found a significant increase in the number of heart attacks. The risk is higher for women in the first three days of DST. Researchers in the study blame sleep deprivation as the cause of the heart attacks. They also point out that most adults are not getting enough sleep in the first place. So, reducing one more hour of sleep increases the chances of fatal events occurring.
Increased risk of car accidents
Sleep is essential for humans and many studies have shown how lack of sleep can impair bodily functions. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that losing an hour of sleep for DST increased the risk of car accidents—at least in Canada, whose traffic stats they studied. They found that an extra hour of sleep, on the other hand, reduced the number of accidents.
Increased Risk of Miscarriage
A study from Boston Medical Center researchers found that rates of miscarriage were higher for these women, whose embryos were transferred within three weeks of the spring time change, compared to rates for the rest of the year. The risk of miscarriage increases during the time of DST, especially in the first few weeks. For women who are undergoing IVF treatment and had miscarriages previously, the chances of a miscarriage during the first few weeks of DST is higher.
Increased Risk of Depression and Suicide
Depression and consequently suicide has also been linked to DST. Suicide rates, especially, the suicide rate in males increase due to the shift in time. A Danish study found an 11 percent increase for up to 10 weeks after clocks were set forward one hour. An Australian study found significant increases in suicides for men during both the fall and spring time changes.
Time Change Makes you Tired
This is a no-brainer, but it is another effect that you cannot ignore. The shift in schedule makes you tired as it messes with your sleep.
Pregnant Women Experience Fatigue
Pregnant women, especially those in the later weeks of pregnancy may feel that DST is a bit too taxing on their body. Pregnancy itself is very demanding for the body. However, with the shift in time, the fatigue level is compounded.
Increased Stroke Risk
This risk comes from the lack of sleep again. Research out of Finland reports that stroke rates in that country were higher, on average, the two days after DST starts. Interestingly, the rate also went up after the fall time change, when we get an extra hour of sleep. This points out that our body is not really that great with a change in routine.
We waste more time
The lack of sleep and the tiredness kills productivity. We lose our ability to focus at work. When we are tired, our body does not really understand whether it is time for lunch, or whether it is time to go home for the day. A 2012 study in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that sleep-deprived workers spend more time “cyberloafing” (pretending to do work). And there’s no more tired workforce than the one on Monday after the spring time change.
You Might Have to Deal with Tired Teens
Teens need a lot of sleep. They need more sleep than young adults or adults. With one more hour of sleep gone from their schedule, they are even more tired. Schools generally do not adjust to compensate for the shift in time. A 2015 study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that, indeed, teens lost a significant amount of sleep after DST. The effects of this were that they had delayed reaction times (bad for young drivers) and lapses in their attention spans.
People suffer a lot of cluster headaches from lack of sleep. Cluster headaches are headaches that only come in one side of the head. Some studies have found that these cluster headaches increase in the days following the spring time change. According to researchers, cluster headaches occur due to the change in circadian rhythms along with our change in work patterns and eating patterns.
The best way to cope with DST to gradually change your schedule. The idea is to accommodate your post time change schedule before the time change occurs. That means, gradually changing the time when you go to sleep, or when you eat. By making the change over a month instead of a single day, you can avoid all these issues a lot.