(ANTIMEDIA) – The government’s imposition of senseless killing is often characterized by police brutality and war crimes, another one of its signature policies is also a threat to life: Daylight Savings Time (DST).
Daylight Savings Time was first initiated during World War I when the German government, followed by the U.K. and U.S. governments, attempted to conserve energy for their war efforts. Smithsonian Magazine explained the process:
“A law requiring Americans to lose an hour was confounding enough. But Congress also tacked on the legal mandate for the four continental time zones. The patriotic rationale for daylight saving went like this: Shifting one hour of available light from the very early morning (when most Americans were asleep) would reduce the demand for domestic electrical power used to illuminate homes in the evening, which would spare more energy for the war effort.”
The policy was wildly unpopular and eventually repealed, but city and state governments imposed their own until 1966 when Congress passed another law to standardize time.
In addition to Daylight Savings failure to save energy, as was originally intended, recent research also shows the transition is linked to fatal health consequences.
One study conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado in Denver and published in the British Medical Journal in 2014 found, as Reuters summarized, that “an average of 32 patients had heart attacks on any given Monday. But on the Monday immediately after springing the clock forward, there were an average of eight additional heart attacks.”
Notably, the “overall number of heart attacks for the full week after daylight saving time didn’t change, just the number on that first Monday. The number then dropped off the other days of the week.”
The study itself noted that “the Monday following spring time changes was associated with a 24% increase in daily AMI counts (p=0.011), and the Tuesday following fall changes was conversely associated with a 21% reduction (p=0.044). No other weekdays in the weeks following DST changes demonstrated significant associations.”
Though there was no increase in the overall incidence of heart attacks, the researchers concluded, DST affects the “timing of presentation.”
But it’s not just heart attacks that occur more often during Daylight Savings Time. The incidence of strokes also increases.
Researchers at the University of Turku in Finland found that “the incidence of ischemic stroke increased during the first two days after transition,” the Cleveland Clinic has summarized. “The effect weakened after about two days, presumably as participants adapted to the change,” and though they do not believe DST causes strokes, it may increase their likelihood among those already prone to them, potentially because stroke risk increases with fragmented and interrupted sleep.
The disruption in sleep that comes with DST may also contribute to increased injuries at work. Two 2009 studies published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that “workers sustain more workplace injuries and injuries of greater severity,” noting further that roughly 40 minutes of sleep are lost at this time and that there is no similar increase in workplace injuries in the fall, when the change in time provides more sleep to those who live in regions where the policy is practiced.
Every year, many express their frustrations with the biannual shift in time, and considering the failure of Daylight Savings Time to achieve its goals of saving energy, perhaps it is time to rethink the government-imposed manipulation of time altogether.
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