Thursday, March 12, 2015

Time change can cost more than sleep

Feeling a little draggy or even worse this week? If so, you may be able to blame Sunday's "spring forward."

When daylight saving time kicks into gear, darkening the morning, brightening the evening and - some medical professionals would say - putting folks at increased risk of falling asleep on the job, getting in an accident or even suffering a heart attack, reports The Paducah Sun.

According to the newspaper, University of Michigan researchers found a surge in heart attacks - 25 percent more compared to other days in the year - in the first full workday after the spring forward clock change. Published last year, their study drew on hospital data throughout Michigan between January 2010 and September 2013 - 1,354 days in all. It found an average of 31 cases of acute myocardial infarction each day in Michigan.

Spikes were especially pronounced on the four Mondays after the forward time change. On average, there were eight more episodes on those four Mondays. According to the same study, nearly the opposite is true in the fall. Researchers found about a 21 percent drop in the number of heart attacks on the Tuesday after the "fall-back" time change and the added hour of sleep.

In addition to putting people at increased risk for heart issues, losing an hour of sleep can cause its own pack of problems. Sleep scientists warn that the time shift can induce "microsleeps" or momentary lapses of concentration at critical times.