Health · Lifestyle

Daylight Saving Time Attacks Again

Janszky, Ahnve, Ljung, Mukamal, Gautam, Wallentin, and Stenestrand studied the impact of heart attacks in Sweden related to the spring ahead effect for many years. In the Journal of Sleep Medicine in 2012 they reported, “Our data suggest that even modest sleep deprivation and disturbances in the sleep-wake cycle might increase the risk of acute myocardial infarcts (heart attacks) across the population.” (Reference Sleep Med. 2012 Mar;13(3):237-42. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2011.07.019. Epub 2012 Jan 30, “Daylight Saving Time Shifts and Incidence of Acute Myocardial Infarction–Swedish Register of Information and Knowledge About Swedish Heart Intensive Care Admissions).

So this is what we know:

1. Sleep deprivation increases the risk factors for heart attacks, including high blood pressure, the production of toxic inflammatory proteins and obesity.

2. In addition, with this loss of a morning hour, our bodies lose an hour of preparation for the inevitable rise in cortisol and other hormones and chemicals that prepare us to begin our day. Many of these can also cause stress on an already damaged cardiovascular system. Sleep is necessary for the proper control of the internal clock of every cell in the body. With the change in the sleep-wake cycle, there is an increase in the production of chemicals that affect inflammation and the immune system.

3. Morning light is the most important light for synchronizing our circadian rhythms. Of course, Daylight Saving Time takes away an hour of morning light. This increases the risk of seasonal affective disorder and, in some people, depression.  A study based on suicide data in Australia from 1971 through 2001 confirmed that male suicide rates rose in the weeks following the change to Daylight Saving Time, compared with the weeks following the return to standard time and the rest of the year.

We are facing daily crises that affect everyone on the planet and I have an inbox that overflows daily with emails requesting that I do something about this important crisis or that important political issue at once. However, citizens might consider contacting members of congress to urge them to write and present a simple bill to abolish Daylight Saving Time since it is an anachronism that causes an increase in depression and anxiety, accidents and health problems along with a decrease in productivity in all sectors of life. It won’t increase the federal deficit. It will decrease health care costs and save lives.

I have not tried to communicate with POTUS on Twitter to ask that he take up this important issue that could have bipartisan support because I know he wants that extra hour of golf at night that Daylight Saving Time gives him.

Maybe I will take a vacation next year for the week beginning with Daylight Saving Time to gradually become adjusted to the time change. I am sure those who listen to my complaints about this issue each year will be grateful if this new trick works to improve my mood.

Manage your time carefully this week and be more mindful of accident prevention. Stay healthy.

Dr. Pat

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  • Leslie in Oregon March 13, 2018 at 4:29 am

    I agree with you completely and, with your permission, will send this post to my Congresspeople.

    • Dr. Pat March 13, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      Dear Leslie,
      I am thrilled that you might be the tip of the spear for a WVFC movement to do away with time change!
      Do send that request to your congress people. The NRA doesn’t care if we shoot guns in daylight
      or darkness, so possible that our representatives and senators might vote for a return to standard time
      (Standard time is the local time in a country or region when Daylight Saving Time (DST) is not in use.)
      Dr. Pat

  • hillsmom March 12, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    Yes, there has been a lot of grumbling about DST. Gussie =^..^= didn’t mind being fed earlier, but I’m still on standard time. It seems that I remember the change being later in the spring and earlier in the fall than what we now have…perhaps you might? I also remember thinking that perhaps we should keep it all year long. Well, didn’t that happen, perhaps during the Carter administration? Whenever it was, IMHO, it was a disaster! For people in the far north, I’m sure it was worse. Here at the Wrinkle Farm/Storage Bin where one has to eat at a barbaric hour, I missed a meal. But, the hour for wine comes earlier..8-) Best to you Dr. Pat. (We’re awaiting the next Nor’easter…blech!)

  • Barbara Thornbrough March 12, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    Dr Pat,
    Your article really was fun. I am sure all of your patients would love you spend this week in Florida. It would be so good for you and all of your lucky patients would not see you in a depressed state. Should we purchase grow lights for am wake up? I can not think of the proper name for those lights but I too am fogged out from the time change. Oh oh it is 3:00pm. Off to play golf!!! Bt

    • Dr. Pat March 12, 2018 at 3:40 pm

      Dear Barbara,
      I use a SADD lamp. It is ugly but it works to lift my mood. Maybe I can spend a few days playing golf with you next year during “spring ahead”.
      Thanks for reading and commenting!
      Dr. Pat

  • Ruby in Manhattan March 12, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    When time changes are warranted, I don’t set a morning alarm and just allow myself to sleep as long as I want to, so I always get a satisfying rest. I don’t really understand the necessity to change the clocks, it may be an outdated methodology.