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Daylight Savings Time & Accidents

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On March 13th, Daylight Savings Time will have us turning our clocks one hour forward.   Amazingly, this subtle time shift can take a noticeable toll on the human body. Here are three strange ways that daylight saving time, and the ending of it, affect human health:

1. More car accidents?
An increase in car accidents during daylight saving time has been reported in the academic literature. The general concept supporting the case, is that subtle changes in sleep patterns can alter human alertness and, in some cases, might increase the risk of potentially fatal car accidents.

2. Increased workplace injuries
Though this threat may not apply to those who work in the relatively padded confines of carpeted office buildings, others who work at more physically taxing jobs, such as construction, have been shown to experience more frequent and severe workplace injuries at the onset of daylight saving time in the spring. The effect has not been detected at the end of daylight saving time in the fall.

A Journal of Applied Psychology study that came to this conclusion found that mine workers arrived at work with 40 minutes less sleep and experienced 5.7 percent more workplace injuries in the week directly following the springtime daylight saving transition than during any other days of the year. The researchers attribute the injuries to lack of sleep, which might explain why the same effect did not pop up in the fall when workers gained an hour of sleep. 

3. More heart attacks
A team of Swedish researchers conducted a study that showed the rate of heart attacks during the first three weekdays following springtime daylight saving time increased by about 5 percent from the average rate during other times of the year. As with workplace injuries, the effect did not arise at the end of daylight saving time in the fall.

In a New England Journal of Medicine article that described this pattern, the researchers attributed the small surge in heart attacks in the springtime to changes in people's sleep patterns. Lack of sleep can release stress hormones that increase inflammation, which can cause more severe complications in people already at risk of having a heart attack.
Getting plenty of sleep, proper nutrition and exercise can help you and your family live healthier and happier lives.    Even with all our preventative measures, sometimes accidents do happen.    

If you or a loved one is injured in an accident, contact the attorneys at LDM&M.   Acting promptly to preserve your rights is essential after any accident.  For over 40 years, the attorneys at LDM&M have been helping individuals across Wisconsin receive the legal satisfaction that they deserve.  Contact our offices for a free, personal consolation.