Monday, 11 March 2013
Daily Savings Time - is it really a health risk?
Most of us are waking up today a bit more weary-headed than usual. It is amazing what a single lost hour to our biologic rhythms can do. We do have an innate internal clock that just got reset.
Of course jet-setters, or anybody travelling cross country learns quickly about jet lag at one end, and waking up at four in the morning going the other direction.
Of course there are the advantages. After a long dark winter, most of us gain an hour of added sunshine later in the day. That opportunity to replete some Vitamin D. For those that summer from seasonal affective disorders (SAD), the apparent brightening at one end of the day may be a welcome sign for coming relief aided by the longer days as summer approaches.
There are the downsides that seem to attract attention. Potential Increased rates of heart attacks and suicides have been reported. A reported 8% increase in traffic collisions during the Monday morning commute combined with a nearly 6% higher risk for workplace injuries during the Monday. While not earthshattering, the purported rate of myocardial infarct increase is 10% - mitigated by an equivalent decrease when the clocks are set back in the fall.
For most of us it is just that foggy-headed feeling with reduced performance matched and a decreased productivity on the first day back to work.
So, don’t expect too much of yourself or others on the Monday after the start of daylight savings time. Your circadian clock will reset itself within a few days for most of us. You could benefit from making some changes to your daily routine, including being sure to have a solid breakfast, get outside when that sun does rise and do a bit of more exercise in the morning.
Of course, an extra dose of caffeine might just help clear the cobwebs.