Monday, March 15, 2010

The Dark Side of Daylight Savings

Sunday Q&A: Expert plumbs ‘dark side of night'
Baylor Med prof knows how daylight saving time affects you
March 13, 2010, 9:07PM

You may curse daylight saving time upon losing an hour of sleep, but what you might not realize is its potential effect on your health. Dr. Shyam Subramanian, a Baylor College of Medicine professor of pulmonary medicine and medical director of the Harris County Hospital District's Sleep Lab at Ben Taub General Hospital, talked with the Chronicle's Todd Ackerman about who's most affected by daylight saving time, what people can do to limit the disruption, and how medicine is just scratching the surface of what Subramanian calls “the dark side of the night.”

Q: I got a number of daylight saving time story pitches from sleep specialists this year. Is an hour time change twice a year that big a deal? Aren't most people just tired that day and fall asleep an hour earlier the next night?

A: Well, there is a higher incidence of workplace and occupational accidents, particularly in industries like mining and transportation, for about two to three weeks right around this time. The time change can also have a negative impact on scholastic performance, as with teenagers taking tests during this two-week period. Beyond that, your characterization is fairly accurate. Most people adjust in a couple days — some, obviously, better than to complete article

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