Daylight Savings Actually Kills

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On Wednesday, November 6, 2019, a personal friend of the editor of Headline Health was killed in a pedestrian accident during evening rush hour.

It was just the third weeknight after the end of Daylight Savings, with commuters still adjusting to driving in the dark at 5:30 pm. Rick had just gotten off a city bus and was struck by a car while attempting to cross the street to his home. Rick died in the street; no charges were filed. 

As Daylight Savings resumes, many commuters will now be adjusting to driving in the dark in the morning. In addition, they will have lost sleep and may be drowsy. Today Headline Health brings you content first published in 2015, and worth a read as you get set to change your clock this weekend. No one should have to die because the clocks changed.

Deadly Car Crashes Spike After Changing Clocks

Worcester Telegram – Daylight saving time may cost you more than an hour of sleep, it could cost you your life, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder study that found an increase in fatal motor vehicle accidents the first six days after the clocks spring ahead.

The study, “Spring Forward at your Own Risk: Daylight Savings Time and Fatal Vehicle Crashes” by Austin C. Smith at the University of Colorado Boulder, reported that in the first six days of daylight saving time there were 302 deaths and a cost of $2.75 billion over a 10-year period.

The study looked at detailed records in fatal crashes in the United States, the change from daylight saving time to standard time and the impact of extending daylight saving time in 2007.

The Fatal Accident Reporting System found a 17 percent increase in traffic fatalities on the Monday after the shift.

The loss of one hour occurs at 2 a.m., jumping straight to 3 a.m., resulting in a 23-hour day. Congress adopted uniform daylight saving time in 1966, and various amendments have extended it. In 2007, daylight saving time was extended to begin on the second Sunday in March and end on the first Sunday in November.

That loss of an hour of sleep, according to researchers, causes a significant disruption in sleep cycles.

“The ability to see what is happening ahead of you and to react to it is one of the most important things in driving,” said Chris Hayes, second vice president of transportation risk control with Travelers, a Hartford-based insurance company. “One of the things that goes along with this is sleep. If you just lack one hour of sleep, if people stick to their normal sleep schedule, that can have quite an impact … ” Read more. 

Daylight saving time can affect your health

By Jason Howland
March 5, 2020

Mayo Clinic Minute – When daylight saving time kicks in, you spring forward and gain an hour of daylight. But you also lose an hour of sleep.

Dr. Brynn Dredla, a Mayo Clinic sleep neurologist, explains why that seemingly small change can significantly affect your body.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

“We have more difficulty springing forward than we do falling back,” says Dr. Dredla.

Dr. Dredla says an hour may not seem like much, but it can have a pretty dramatic effect on our bodies.

“If someone sleeps from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and then we spring forward, on Monday morning we’re asked to now be driving when we should normally be sleeping,” she says. “So that can be a big impact because our body is under the impression it should be asleep when we’re asking it to perform a pretty complex task.”

Dr. Dredla says it’s a similar effect on the body as jet lag when you fly to Europe and are suddenly hours ahead of the time your body thinks it is.

You body’s internal clock, or circadian rhythm, no longer matches the external clock, which causes us to feel sluggish and foggy-headed.

“And it usually takes two days before we’re able to get back into our normal routine,” Dr. Dredla says.

She suggests preparing for the change starting about two or three days before daylight saving time by going to bed 15 minutes earlier and waking up 15 minutes earlier. That way, your body has a slower, more gradual adjustment to waking up early. Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network

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