Springing Forward with Daylight Savings Could Kill You

Daylight Savings starts Sunday night, forcing America's clocks an hour into the future. Not only is this the lamest form of time travel ever invented, medical studies have suggested that being forced to get up an hour earlier for work is bad for your heart—like maybe kill you bad.

"The Monday and Tuesday after moving the clocks ahead one hour in March is associated with a 10 percent increase in the risk of having a heart attack," UAB Associate Professor Martin Young, Ph.D., told Science Daily. "The opposite is true when falling back in October. This risk decreases by about 10 percent."

Researchers have yet to pinpoint a reason for this phenomenon but have posited theories that three factors could contribute. First, sleep deprivation, which can alter the body's inflammatory response process and contribute to a heart attack. Night owls have a tougher time adjusting to the earlier timing than morning people and are therefore at an increased risk to do so.

Second, the jump forward screws up the body's circadian rhythm, reducing its ability to handle stress and shocks. As Dr. Young explains, "When time moves forward, cell clocks are anticipating another hour to sleep that they won't get, and the negative impact of the stress worsens; it has a much more detrimental effect on the body." Third, the jump forward also screws up the body's immune response timing, which temporarily weakens the immune system.

Daylight Saving Time was originally developed during World War I as a means to conserve fuel. It made a reappearance again after WWII's "War Time" was abolished but ended being optional for individual communities. The concept struck once more during the 1973 Oil Embargo crisis when the idea of summer DST was adopted. In 2007, President GW Bush extended DST by two months. This year, DST will run from March 11 to November 4. [Science Daily - DST Wiki]

Image: Lisa F. Young / Shutterstock