November 1, 2008

Fall back

Remember to set back your clocks tonight. It could save your life.
Turning your clock back one hour Sunday for the end of daylight-saving time could do your own ticker some good.

Researchers have found a 5 percent drop in heart-attack deaths and hospitalizations the day after clocks are reset each year to standard time, according to a study in the new issue of The New England Journal of Medicine...

The culprit is probably sleep. Scientists have known that sleep deprivation is bad for the heart — the body responds by boosting blood pressure, heart rate and the tendency to form dangerous clots — but they didn't realize one hour could have a measurable effect...

The researchers found the typical number of heart attacks on an autumn Monday was 2,140, but that fell to an average of 2,038 on the Monday after daylight-saving time ended, a 5 percent decline. The rate also dipped on five of the other six days of the week, although none of those drops was large enough to be considered statistically significant.

In the spring, the number of heart attacks spiked on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday after daylight-saving time began. The increases ranged from 6 percent to 10 percent.

Full article.

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