Hilary Brueck, Business Insider – Daylight saving time starts on Sunday.
| At 2 a.m., most phones and computers are preset to jump an hour forward, and we’ll lose an hour of sleep.
The change can kill people:
Incidents of heart attacks, strokes, and fatal car accidents all spike around the start of daylight-saving time each year.
The annual ritual in which we “gain” an hour of evening light by pushing the clocks forward 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.
Just a coincidence? Probably not. 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.
“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 reason that springing the clocks forward can kill us comes down to interrupted sleep schedules.
This Sunday, March 10, instead of the clock turning from 1:59 to 2:00 a.m. as usual, it will tick to 3:00 a.m. instead.
For those of us who will be asleep in bed, researchers estimate we’ll all deprive ourselves of an extra 40 minutes of sleep because of the clock change. And night-shift workers will only get paid for seven hours of work instead of the usual eight, according to federal law.
Walker said daylight-saving time (DST) is a kind of “global experiment” we perform twice a year.
And the results show just how sensitive our bodies are to the whims of changing schedules: In the fall, the shift is a blessing, and in the spring, it’s a fatal curse.
In addition to the tragic heart-attack trend, which lasts about a day, researchers estimate that car crashes caused by drivers who were sleepy after clocks changed likely cost an extra 30 people in the US their lives over the nine-year period from 2002-2011. Read more.