A scientific evaluation of how that one-hour time change may affect your daily routine.
– More car accidents? – An increase in car accidents during daylight saving time has been both supported and refuted. The general concept supporting the case, however, is that subtle changes in sleep patterns and circadian rhythms can alter human alertness and, in some cases, might increase the risk of potentially fatal car accidents.
– Increased workplace injuries – Though this threat may not apply to those who work in the relatively padded confines of carpeted office buildings, others who work at more physically taxing jobs, such as miners, have been shown to experience more frequent and severe workplace injuries at the onset of daylight saving time in the spring. The effect has not been detected at the end of daylight saving time in the fall.
– More heart attacks – A team of Swedish researchers conducted a study in 2008 that showed the rate of heart attacks during the first three weekdays following springtime daylight saving time increased by about 5 percent from the average rate during other times of the year. As with workplace injuries, the effect did not arise at the end of daylight saving time in the fall.
– Increased cluster headaches – Circadian rhythms tick away throughout the body each day, controlling the release of certain hormones that affect moods, hunger levels, and yearning for sleep. When these rhythms get thrown out of whack, even by just one hour, the human body notices the difference. Why, exactly, the change in rhythms has this effect remains unclear.