The Sleep Study You Participate In

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In Why We Sleep, Dr. Mathew Walker tells us:

“For cardiovascular health, I believe that finding comes from a “global experiment” in which 1.5 billion people are forced to reduce their sleep by one hour or less for a single night each year. It is very likely that you have been part of this experiment, otherwise known as daylight savings time. In the Northern Hemisphere, the switch to daylight savings time in March results in most people losing an hour of sleep opportunity. Should you tabulate millions of daily hospital records, as researchers have done, you discover that this seemingly trivial sleep reduction comes with a frightening spike in heart attacks the following day. Impressively, it works both ways. In the autumn within the Northern Hemisphere, when the clocks move forward and we gain an hour of sleep opportunity time, rates of heart attacks plummet the day after.

A similar rise-and-fall relationship can be seen with the number of traffic accidents, proving that the brain, by way of attention lapses and microsleeps, is just as sensitive as the heart to very small perturbations of sleep.

That is crazy! Peaks and valleys in heart attacks and traffic accidents depend on whether we gain or lose just one hour of sleep. Sleep matters folks.

Mathew tells us:

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