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Daylight Savings Ups Heart Attack Risk

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Daylight Savings May Spell Trouble for Some

Daylight savings can be both a blessing and a curse: its a blessing in the fall when we want the extra daylight and a curse in the spring when we must “leap” forward and lose an hour of sleep for a day.  However, daylight savings can be more than just a mere annoyance for some; some doctors say that it can actually spur on a cardiac event in some individuals.

Study Used Michigan-Based Data

Study author, Dr. Amneet Sandhu, a cardiology fellow at the University of Colorado, Denver looked at Michigan’s BMC2 Database, which collects data from every non-federal hospital in the state.  Dr. Sandhu and his colleagues then identified every admission for heart attacks requiring medical intervention between January 2010 and September 2013.  The results showed that there was a 25% increase on the Monday after we turn the clocks forward compared to other Mondays during the year, and a 21% decrease when we turn the clocks back an hour.  Dr. Sandhu and his colleagues are unsure about the exact mechanisms behind the uptick in heart attacks after turning the clocks forward, but they hypothesize that the stress of Monday mornings, in conjunction with the loss of one hour of sleep and disturbance of the sleep cycle, act together to increase cardiac events.

Is Daylight Savings Time Really Needed?

This information comes right a time when experts are debating whether we need to keep daylight savings around in general.  Daylight savings interrupts our circadian sleep rhythm, which is apparently more dangerous than just causing mere grogginess.  The study had some limitations, particularly that it only included data from Michigan, but Dr. Sandhu advocates that future research look at heart attack data from other states that do not follow the daylight savings time rules.