Studies: Daylight Saving Time leads to more accidents, heart attacks

Studies: Daylight Saving Time leads to more accidents, heart attacks (MGN Online)

WASHINGTON (WJLA/WKRC/WTOV) - Studies show when we change our clocks ahead one hour, or "spring ahead", it impacts the human body.

Daylight Saving Time takes place on March 11. The change may have adverse affects on motor skills, productivity and could lead to an increased number of heart attacks that may take place on Monday, according to a University of Alabama at Birmingham expert.

"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," the University’s Associate Professor Martin Young said, according to Science Daily. "The opposite is true when falling back in October. This risk decreases by about 10 percent," Young said.

Another study claims daylight saving time increases risk of stroke.

"Previous studies have shown that disruptions in a person's circadian rhythm, also called an internal body clock, increase the risk of ischemic stroke, so we wanted to find out if daylight saving time was putting people at risk," study author Dr. Jori Ruuskanen, of the University of Turku, in Finland, said in a statement as published by CBS News.

In addition to the rise in the risk of heart attacks, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the change lead to an eight percent increase in traffic accidents for a week on the Monday following the start of DST.

"A lot of motorists don't realize that just the loss of one hour of sleep can throw your circadian rhythm out of wack, and as a result, the Monday after the switchover we see more crashes than the Monday before or the Monday thereafter," John Townsend, AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman, said according to Cooper Hurley.

Germany was the first country to enact DST in 1916 and the United States started observing a bit later during World War I to make better use of daylight while conserving energy. Though people can take advantage of extra evening daylight in warmer months, Daylight Saving Time is not always welcomed. There are numerous online petitions to End Daylight Saving Time.

In 2014, Russia canceled Daylight Saving Time time for all of its time zones. Within the United States, part of Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands do not participate in daylight saving time.

Daylight Saving Time is also the day suggested to change your batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as well as other safety items in your home.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that 71 percent of smoke alarms that failed to operate had missing, disconnected or dead batteries. The NFPA provides the following guidelines for smoke alarms:

• Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.

• Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.

• Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.

• Replace the smoke alarm immediately if it doesn’t respond properly when tested.

• Smoke alarms with non-replaceable (long-life) batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, a warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.

• For smoke alarms with any other type of battery, replace batteries at least once a year. If the alarm chirps, replace only the battery.

In addition to changing batteries, now is a good time to make sure to create or update your fire safety plan. Every family should have a fire safety plan, ensuring that every family member is prepared if an emergency occurs.

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