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Daylight saving time in the United States ends this year at 2 a.m. Sunday. All states except Arizona and Hawaii will make the switch. Sweden and the rest of Europe turned back their clocks last weekend. More than 1.5 billion people worldwide live in countries that use daylight saving time, the researchers said.
Sweden has a moderate rate of heart attacks and is at a high latitude, but Janszky said he would expect roughly the same results elsewhere.
Sleep can affect the heart through changes in blood pressure, inflammation, blood clotting, blood sugar, cholesterol and blood vessels, Mosca said. She suggested that anxiety from changes in routine may also be a factor, in addition to loss of sleep.
Dr. Ronald Chervin, director of the University of Michigan's Sleep Disorders Center, said this is a "sleep-deprived society," and he advises taking advantage of Sunday's time change and getting an extra hour of sleep.
In the spring, he suggests gradually adjusting to the one-hour loss by going to bed and getting up 15 minutes earlier for a few days before the time change.
"We spend a third of our lives sleeping and people forget how much effect it has on overall health," he said.
On the Net:
New England Journal: http://www.nejm.com/
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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