Annual 'Spring Forward' This Weekend is Hazardous to Our Health

It's time to 'spring forward' to Daylight Saving Time this weekend, a move that could be dangerous to your health, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Dr. John Higgins, chief of cardiology at U.T. Health Houston tells News Radio 1200 WOAI the week after the spring time change is the most dangerous of the entire year, for everything from car wrecks to heart attacks.

He says the real problem is losing that hour of sleep Saturday night messes with our 'circadian rhythms.'

"What that means is the person is getting up an hour earlier on Monday morning, that's more stress to their body, that adds more stress, and since the blood is always thicker in the morning, it is even thicker, increasing the possibility of heart attacks.

And he says the danger will continue all next week.

"Coupled with all that stress, and being a bit tired, that bumps up the chance of heart attacks about 25%," Dr. Higgins says. "There is also a greater chance of trouble Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday as well."

Auto wrecks also soar in the week after we 'spring forward,' according to insurance industry data. It is especially dangerous for school bus stops because bus pickups which have been done in sunlight for the last several weeks will now take place in darkness.

State Rep. Lyle Larson has introduced a bill in the Texas Legislature to abolish Daylight Saving Time in Texas.

In fact, most experts agree that the 'energy saving' benefits of Daylight Saving Time which President Carter used to justify its national imposition during the energy crisis days of the seventies no longer exist.

For example, in 1975, fewer than half of all American homes had air conditionining. The fact that the sunshine, and the hot summer weather, now lasts for an hour more in the evening, that means a/c units are working harder for another hour in the evening, which completely counters the savings in 'electric lighting' use that President Carter touted. In fact, electric lighting amounts to a far smaller share of total energy use today than it did in the seventies, as traditional tungsten-filiment light bulbs ahve been superseded by far more energy efficient bulbs.

But pushing for the continuation of Daylight Saving Time is a wide ranging coallition of businesses that make money when it stays lighter later, from shopping malls to attractions like baseball teams and theme parks.


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