Sunday, March 11, 2012

Hello Summertime!.. Owls Beware


Environment can significantly affect human health. And the risks are not limited to air pollution, seasonal allergies, tainted water or chemicals in food. Our life dramas are set against the backdrop of world events that contribute to environmental health too, to a lesser or greater extent.

How does springing clocks forward affect our lives?

Hopefully, not much financially. Despite earlier predictions that average stock market returns are likely to be lower on Mondays following time changes (Kamstra et al, 2000), unbiased modeling techniques in later studies proposed that markets are not really influenced by this event (Berument et al., 2010). So we can all sleep sound tonight.

Daylight savings time (DST) will make some of us a little bit more active. By about 2%, as measured by scientists in  Indiana (Holmes et al., 2009). It will lead to a 3% drop in crime, as estimated by the Home Office in UK. So we have something to look forward to.

Still, as we are going to loose 1 hour of sleep, would it not affect our mood, our attention and the ability to work productively? Would it increase the probability of being involved in health-related catastrophes? What about traffic accidents? Some studies suggest they will increase (by 8-17% according to Stanley Coren), while others say there will be no impact or even less accidents during DST transition (if 1 day or week before is compared to 1 day/week after, see articles by Ferguson, Coate, Lahti). The results about occupational accidents and hospitalizations are also inconsistent (Janszky, Lahti).

But there was one result that scientific studies from all over the world had in common:  the impact of DST transition was different on larks and owls. And night owls were the ones that suffered the most, during spring transitions - in Finland, Germany, Korea, Russia and everywhere else.

So let's enjoy the extra hour of sunshine. And if you are a morning lark, bear with the sleepiness of night owls  - they'll need more time to adjust.

Aurametrix is an advanced analysis tool that correlates our symptoms, reactions and feelings with  environmental factors such as weather, air, pollen and time transitions.

REFERENCES

Janszky, I., Ahnve, S., Ljung, R., Mukamal, K., Gautam, S., Wallentin, L., & Stenestrand, U. (2012). Daylight saving time shifts and incidence of acute myocardial infarction – Swedish Register of Information and Knowledge About Swedish Heart Intensive Care Admissions (RIKS-HIA) Sleep Medicine, 13 (3), 237-242 DOI: 10.1016/j.sleep.2011.07.019

Lahti T, Sysi-Aho J, Haukka J, Partonen T.  Work-related accidents and daylight saving time in Finland.  Occup Med (Lond). 2011 Jan;61(1):26-8.

Morassaei S, Smith PM. Switching to Daylight Saving Time and work injuries in Ontario, Canada: 1993-2007.  Occup Environ Med. 2010 Dec;67(12):878-80. Epub 2010 Sep 30.

Lahti T, Sysi-Aho J, Haukka J, Partonen T.  Work-related accidents and daylight saving time in Finland. Occup Med (Lond). 2011 Jan;61(1):26-8. Epub 2010 Nov 15.

Lahti T, Nysten E, Haukka J, Sulander P, Partonen T. Daylight saving time transitions and road traffic accidents.  J Environ Public Health. 2010;2010:657167.

Lahti TA, Haukka J, Lönnqvist J, Partonen T. Daylight saving time transitions and hospital treatments due to accidents or manic episodes. BMC Public Health. 2008 Feb 26;8:74.

Lahti TA, Leppämäki S, Lönnqvist J, Partonen T. Transitions into and out of daylight saving time compromise sleep and the rest-activity cycles.  BMC Physiol. 2008 Feb 12;8:3.

Lahti TA, Haukka J, Lönnqvist J, Partonen T. Daylight saving time transitions and hospital treatments due to accidents or manic episodes. BMC Public Health. 2008 Feb 26;8:74.

Lim, S., Park, Y., Yang, K., & Kwon, H. (2010). Effects of Daylight Saving Time on Health Journal of Korean Medical Association, 53 (2) DOI: 10.5124/jkma.2010.53.2.155

Berument MH, Dogan N, Onar B. Effects of daylight savings time changes on stock market volatility. Psychol Rep. 2010 Apr;106(2):632-40.

Kamstra M.J., Lisa A. Kramer L.A., and Levi M.D.. The American Economic Review. Vol. 90, No. 4 (Sep., 2000), pp. 1005-1011

Holmes AM, Lindsey G, Qiu C. Ambient air conditions and variation in urban trail use.
J Urban Health. 2009 November; 86(6): 839–849.

Lofthouse N, Fristad M, Splaingard M, Kelleher K, Hayes J, Resko S. Web survey of sleep problems associated with early-onset bipolar spectrum disorders. J Pediatr Psychol. 2008 May;33(4):349-57. Epub 2008 Jan 11.

Varughese J, Allen RP. Fatal accidents following changes in daylight savings time: the American experience.
Sleep Med. 2001 Jan;2(1):31-36.

Lambe M, Cummings P. The shift to and from daylight savings time and motor vehicle crashes.
Accid Anal Prev. 2000 Jul;32(4):609-11.

Vincent A. Effects of daylight savings time on collision rates. N Engl J Med. 1998 Oct 15;339(16):1167-8.

Hicks GJ, Davis JW, Hicks RA. Fatal alcohol-related traffic crashes increase subsequent to changes to and from daylight savings time. Percept Mot Skills. 1998 Jun;86(3 Pt 1):879-82.

Coren S. Accidental death and the shift to daylight savings time. Percept Mot Skills. 1996 Dec;83(3 Pt 1):921-2.

Coren S. Daylight savings time and traffic accidents. N Engl J Med. 1996 Apr 4;334(14):924.

Ferguson SA, Preusser DF, Lund AK, Zador PL, Ulmer RG. Daylight saving time and motor vehicle crashes: the reduction in pedestrian and vehicle occupant fatalities. American Journal of Public Health. 1995;85(1):92–95.

Coren S. Daylight savings time and traffic accidents. New England Journal of Medicine. 1996;334(14):p. 924.

Coren S. Accidental death and the shift to daylight savings time. Perceptual and Motor Skills. 1996;85(3):921–922.

Coate D, Markowitz S. The effects of daylight and daylight saving time on US pedestrian fatalities and motor vehicle occupant fatalities. Accident Analysis and Prevention. 2004;36(3):351–357.

Kantermann T., Juda M., Merrow M. The human circadian clock's seasonal adjustment is disrupted by daylight saving time - Current Biology, 2007

Schneider, A., & Randler, C. (2009). Daytime sleepiness during transition into daylight saving time in adolescents: Are owls higher at risk? Sleep Medicine, 10 (9), 1047-1050 DOI: 10.1016/j.sleep.2008.08.009

46 comments:

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