GateHouse — I have written about daylight saving time before — so frequently, in fact, that I have written the sentence “I have written about daylight saving time before” before. I am thinking about writing it again, right now, because I am making a galvanizingly important point here, and also because if I keep writing it over and over I can get this column done quicker and return immediately to the couch, where I can continue immersing myself in the rich and rewarding world of the Ice Road Truckers.
But I am going to write about daylight saving time again, partly because I have sworn to do so until someone in the government pays attention to me — and it doesn’t have to be anyone important, it can be Sarah Palin — and partly because I have recently discovered that daylight saving time can kill you. And I don’t mean “it can kill you” in that nebulous, cable-news, plastic-water-bottles sort of way, I mean it can actually give you heart attacks. Yeah. Bet you’ll think twice before turning the page to “Cathy” now, huh.
I refer to a study done by Swedish researchers, who are all blonde and wicked attractive, over the past 20 years, which reported that the number of heart attacks over that time actually dipped the Monday after clocks were set back an hour, possibly, the scientists surmised shortly before heading out to do attractive-Swedish-people things, because people got an extra hour of sleep that night.
“But wait, Jeff,” you’re saying to yourself right now, specifically if you talk to mug shots in your newspaper. “You said that daylight-saving time will kill you, yet these gorgeous Swedes seem to have discovered just the opposite, in their time off from brewing fantastic beer and going gerfluergeling along the fjords?”
True. Guess what happens when you set clocks forward in the spring. Yeah. Clang. More heart attacks happened during the first week after the start of daylight saving time in the spring, especially in the first three days.
“Sleep — through a variety of mechanisms — affects our cardiovascular health,” said Dr. Lori Mosca to the AP. Mosca is the director of preventive cardiology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and wasn’t involved in the research, but says that “sleep not only impacts how we feel, but it may also affect whether we develop heart disease or not,” or, in non-crazy-scientific terms, daylight saving time is stupid and we should end it now, like that wordy guy in the newspaper says.
Listen, I’m not out to cause a ruckus here. I grew up in Indiana, where every citizen is actually given the choice, at the age of 8, to exist in any time zone of their choosing, meaning that finding an open bank is nearly impossible and attempting to hold a conference call is entirely out of the question. Indiana is made of a patchwork quilt of time zones, a few on Eastern, a few on Central, a few on Bangladesh for some reason, and no one in the state believes they need to straighten this issue out, resulting in my inability, at the age of 33, to figure out what time it is at my Mom’s house ever, for any reason. Yes, this is the worst problem anyone has ever had in their lives and no, I can’t just learn how to figure out time zones for myself, and frankly I resent the inference.
The facts are simple: We are a sleep-deprived society, daylight saving time causes an increase in heart attacks and early-morning archery accidents (well, it does, and no I don’t have the numbers, but, just, it does), and more importantly, it is difficult for me personally to figure out, so it must be abandoned forthwith. Also, the Swedes said so.