Springing forward can affect your health and safety


APPLETON - It's almost time to spring forward.  Daylight Saving Time begins early Sunday morning.  It means a one hour later sunrise in the morning, one hour later sunset in the evening.

But it can also impact you in ways that may not be obvious.  That includes everything from your safety on the road, to your productivity at work and even your heart health.

Do you like to take walks in the evening?

If you do, Lawrence University Associate Economics Professor David Gerard says springing the clock forward is a good thing.

"Next week your risk will be about 50 to 80 percent lower of getting hit by a car.  It'll be broad daylight after the change," Gerard explained.

Gerard wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times.  He told FOX 11 he and a colleague looked at pedestrian deaths, nationwide, from 1999 to 2005.  They found those car-pedestrian deaths spike in the fall when clocks fall back, and lower significantly when the clock springs ahead.

"Maybe 150 deaths per year could be avoided by having permanent daylight savings," said Gerard.

But even Gerad admits a permanent change would not be ideal for everyone.

"The first thing they'll tell you is, 'well you go and with my kid at 7:00 in the morning in the pitch dark in January and December,'" he said.

Changing the clock Sunday could also affect what's called your body's circadian rhythm.

"A molecular structure somewhere in the brain that nobody really understands, but it's our sleep-wake cycle," explained Dr. Al Cherkasky.

The doctor told FOX 11  the time change throws that cycle off.

"Work productivity decreases and people have more mood swings and there is an uptick in heart attacks for the first couple days," he said.

You can help yourself over the next few days.

"Get as much sunlight as you can starting at dawn, stay away from sunlight later in the day.  If you get up at night to go to the bathroom, don't turn on the light, except for maybe a little night light," explained Dr. Cherkasky, because that one hour change comes with many consequences.

As a reminder, that extra hour of daylight kicks in this Sunday.   That means you should set your clocks forward one hour before you go to bed Saturday ynight, or when you wake up Sunday morning.