The heart is the most important part of the human body – and as such it is studied quite extensively, but nobody ever imagined however, that Daylight Savings Time would play a role in determining your chance of having a heart attack. According to a new study that was just published by the New England Journal of Medicine, however, physicians now say that it indeed does.
According to the study, hospitals see a 5% drop in heart attack cases in the week prior to setting your clock back an hour. Conversely, Swedish researchers are saying that hospitals also report a very similar increase in the amount of heart attack cases in the week after we set our clocks ahead. This is a very unique study, which brings about some other, seemingly mundane yearly events that also may increase one’s chance of suffering a heart attack. This includes both anniversaries and holidays, though the exact reason for this has yet to be determined.
Scientists agree, however, that this phenomenon is probably due to sleeping habits. When we set our clocks back, most individuals get an extra hour of sleep. When setting our clocks forward, we lose an hour of sleep. And this hour of sleep, according to scientists, is likely to be the cause of both the increase and decrease of heart attacks near the end and start (respectively) of Daylight Savings Time.
Another interesting tidbit that was found by the Swedish researchers is the fact that women are more prone to this increased risk than men; and they’re not sure why. Furthermore, it is found that younger people are also more susceptible to suffering a heart attack due to Daylight Savings Time – because elderly individuals and retirees have a more flexible daily schedule than those in their 40’s, 50’s, and even 60’s who are still working, they are not affected as much by the time shift.
However, researchers, scientists and physicians still say that Daylight Savings Time has a very minimal effect on our heart. This is especially true when compared to bad habits such as overeating, smoking, and lack of proper exercise or nutrition.