Daylight saving time linked to rise in health risks for weeks, months after time change

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Daylight saving time is slated for this weekend and “springing ahead” means losing an hour of sleep. The loss might seem insignificant, however, for some it can seriously affect their health in weeks and even months ahead.

News 8 spoke with Anne Batson, sleep specialist at Community Health Network about certain things people need to be aware of as we head into the seasonal time change.

“The week following the spring clock change that we’re going to have this weekend has accumulating evidence that there are consequences following the clock change such as an increase in heart attacks, strokes, work-related accidents, suicides and motor vehicle accidents,” said Batson.

She says sleep-deprived teen drivers particularly hit hard by the time change and the effects can be deadly.

“You’ve got these teenagers who are sleepy. They have an uptick in their accidental rate. One statistic showed there was a 6% increase in the traffic fatalities in the week following the spring clock change.”

Batson thinks it’s time to eliminate the yearly flip-flopping because it puts the greater public at risk in multiple ways. She says efforts by public health officials to do so are already underway.

News 8’s medical reporter, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Gillis, D.Ed., is a classically trained medical physiologist and biobehavioral research scientist. She has been a health, medical and science reporter for over 6 years. Her work has been featured in national media outlets. You can follow her on Facebook @DrMaryGillis and Instagram @reportergillis.