Did you remember to set your clock forward this morning? Well, if you’d read your Encyclopedia Paranoiaca first, you’d have realized that the the key word you should have remembered wasn’t “clock” – it was “alarm!”
Why? Well, according to Dr. Till Roenneberg, a leading chronobiologist and Professor at the Institute for Medicinal Psychology at Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, Germany, our bodies’ natural circadian time orientation, which is set by light and darkness to a basic 24-‐hour cycle, never properly adjusts to gaining an “extra” hour of sunlight at the end of the day. Dr. Roenneberg warns that “the consequences of that (failure to adjust) is that the majority of the population has drastically decreased productivity, decreased quality of life, increased susceptibility to illness, and is just plain tired.” This “social jet lag,” as Dr. Roenneberg describes it, is caused by the fact that “light doesn’t do the same things to the body in the morning and evening. More light in the morning would advance the body clock, and that would be good. But more light in the evening would even further delay the body clock.”
An even more urgent wake-up call comes from Sweden, where Imre Janszky of the Karolinska Institute’s Department of Public Health Sciences in Stockholm and Dr. Rickard Ljung of the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare and report evidence that, at least in Sweden, heart attack rates spike in the days just after the spring time change. The two researchers concluded that “the most likely explanation to (sic) our findings are disturbed sleep and disruption of biological rhythm.”
All of which raises the unsettling question of whether, when you twiddled with the reset button on our happily glowing bedside snoozebuster, you were in fact hitting the trigger of a ticking time bomb, and instead of springing forward, you were setting yourself up to suddenly pitch forward, face down.