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DETROIT (WWJ) – This is the weekend when we switch back to Daylight Saving Time. But did you know that losing that hour of sleep can be dangerous for your health?

As WWJ’s Tom Jordan reports, it’s all about sleep deprivation. Daylight Saving Time officially begins at 2 a.m. Sunday morning, when we’ll set our clocks one hour ahead.

Detroit Medical Center Cardiologist Joel Kahn said the loss of one hour sleep might seem insignificant, but it’s actually a big deal.

“We now really view sleep as a good medication. So, it appears that if you get enough people together and they all miss one hour of sleep, a few people might suffer a detriment,” he said.

Kahn said in fact several new studies show a small rise in heart attacks the Sunday following the shift to Daylight Saving Time.

The study results were published in the March issue of the American Journal of Cardiology. Researchers reviewed six years of records and found that they treated an average of 23 heart attacks the Sunday people switched to Daylight Saving Time — compared to 13 on a usual Sunday.

Given that heart attacks appear to increase following a shorter night, Kahn said it’s reasonable to believe that sleep deprivation may be to blame.

The study’s authors say sleep deprivation that results from the time changes could raise levels of stress hormones and inflammatory chemicals high enough to trigger a heart attack, especially in those who are already at a high risk.

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