As much as we might complain about Daylight Saving Time by posting on Facebook and Twitter on the difficulties of early mornings, our tickers complain in a completely different way: by going into cardiac arrest. That's right: heart attacks rise following Daylight Saving Time.
University of Alabama at Birmingham associate professor Martin Young, Ph.D., in the Division of Cardiovascular Disease said the chance of heart attack rises the Monday and Tuesday following Daylight Saving Time.
"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," Young said. "The opposite is true when falling back in October. This risk decreases by about 10 percent."
The main rise is Monday morning, as folks wake an hour earlier to get ready for work. Though the reasons for this are not known, Young said there are many theories including sleep deprivation, the disrupting of the circadian clock and a lack of immune function.
The Circadian clock is an internal clock on which our cells are run. It controls things like our sleep cycle, and it prepares our cells for each stimulus. Simple sleep deprivation can lead to heart attacks, even that one hour you lose.
According to Young, a normal cycle is "comparable to knowing that you have a meeting at 2 P.M. and having time to prepare your presentation instead of being told at the last minute and not being able to prepare. The internal clocks in each cell can prepare it for stress or a stimulus. 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."
Finally, the immune system has a similar clock that prepares to function at different levels, and the time change affects this.
Very quickly, the body syncs up to the new time. But to prepare for those first two days, it's a good idea to wake up a half hour earlier on Sunday and Saturday and head out into the sunlight, after eating a large breakfast. It kick-starts the process.
Your ticker will thank you, especially since you might need it to get onto your computer soon.