Now gluten-free!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Yes, it's that (Daylight Saving) Time again

There are many reasons why World War I (a.k.a. the Great War, a.k.a. The War to End All Wars) was one of the most senseless, ill-conceived, and downright immoral conflicts in history. But one reason stands out above the rest: Daylight Saving Time. DST was first implemented by Germany (figures) and its allies in 1916 in an effort to conserve coal during the war. England and its allies followed suit, as did the U.S. when it threw its hat into the ring in 1918.

Unfortunately, many people believe sticking to this archaic ritual is worth all the fuss, if only to enjoy that "extra hour" of sleep come the first Sunday in November. But, as I have been saying for years, DST is actually detrimental to one's health. Consider this report in Time:
"Most people don't have much of a problem — they can adjust their body clock quickly. Eventually, after a couple of days, they already can adapt to the new schedule," says Dr. Xiaoyong Yang, an assistant professor of comparative medicine and cellular and molecular physiology at Yale University, who points out that many people routinely recover from slight shifts in their sleep-wake cycles — after staying up late at night to go to party, for instance. "But for some groups of people — people who have depression or a heart problem — there's some research that suggests that [they] have a higher risk of suicide and heart attack."

An Australian study study published in 2008 in Sleep and Biological Rhythms found that men were more likely to commit suicide during the first few weeks of Daylight Saving Time (DST) than at any other time during the year.

Another 2008 study, published by Swedish researchers in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the number of serious heart attacks jumps 6% to 10% on the first three workdays after DST begins.

In other words, people who are already vulnerable to certain health problems may experience more severe effects of their body-clock disruption. Why that's so is still unclear, but Yang theorizes that shifts in biologic rhythms could trigger harmful inflammatory or metabolic changes at the cellular level, which these individuals may be more susceptible to.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have at least a dozen clocks to reset before I turn in.

No comments:

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin