Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring Forward

Did you know that setting our clocks forward an hour increases the suicide rate? From Wiley Online LIbrary:

"Small shifts in diurnal rhythms are associated with an increase in suicide: The effect of daylight saving" by Michael Berk, Seetal Dodd, Karen Hallam, Lesley Berk, John Gleeson, and Margaret Henry
Published in the Sleep and Biological Rhythms Journal, January 2008.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1479-8425.2007.00331.x/abstract;jsessionid=EDF5DBB92D01B525F774FEA35F8C2696.d02t01

"Abstract
Large disruptions of chronobiological rhythms are documented as destabilizing individuals with bipolar disorder; however, the impact of small phase altering events is unclear. Australian suicide data from 1971 to 2001 were assessed to determine the impact on the number of suicides of a 1-h time shift due to daylight saving. The results confirm that male suicide rates rise in the weeks following the commencement of daylight saving, compared to the weeks following the return to eastern standard time and for the rest of the year. After adjusting for the season, prior to 1986 suicide rates in the weeks following the end of daylight saving remained significantly increased compared to the rest of autumn. This study suggests that small changes in chronobiological rhythms are potentially destabilizing in vulnerable individuals."


I don't want to make light of this because this is a serious situation. But I had to ask myself, is losing one hour really enough to push someone over the edge? One hour? Listen, committing suicide doesn't strike me as the kind of thing that you do unless you're sure of it. And if losing one hour is the thing that makes the difference, well, I don't get it. Actually, I can't see committing suicide ever. But certainly don't do it because you lost one hour.

I started off typing this as ... well not as a joke, but as a somewhat lighthearted post. Imagine Jerry Seinfeld doing a routine. "Well, I wasn't going to do it, but losing that hour convinced me!" But the more I type the more I feel sad. Seriously, you have to be in a bad place for that to make the difference.

Don't do it.