Time change good for the heart -- this time of year

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Not only should you turn back the clock before going to be Saturday night to take advantage of an extra hour of sleep; you should do it for your health, according to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

According to a study from Sweden, changing clocks back an hour in the fall resulted in 5 percent fewer heart attacks the following day.

But don't think the improvement didn't come without a cost; the switch back to daylight saving time in the spring resulted in a 6 percent increase in the number of heart attacks the following day, at least in Sweden.

"It has been postulated that people in Western societies are chronically sleep-deprived, since the average sleep duration decreased from 9 hours to 7.5 hours during the 20th centurey," Drs. Imre Janszky and Rickard Ljung said. "Our data suggest that vulnerable people might benefit from avoiding sudden changes in their biologic rhythms."

We have to second that. What could be gentler on the body's biologic rhythms than gradual change from summer to winter, as compared to the abrupt, one-hour jump we're about to be subjected to?

Just watch how long it takes people -- especially young children and the elderly -- to adjust to even an extra hour of sleep and the earlier darkness in the evening.

Let's dump daylight saving time altogether and let nature take its course.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: