Daylight Savings time is a hotly debated topic in the US, particularly its relevance to sticking around in today’s digital world. While many know that we “Fall Back” an hour in the Fall and “Spring Forward” an hour in the spring, many don’t consider the health ramifications of suddenly shocking the body’s daily routine. Hospitals and cardiologists tend to see an increase in patients in the Spring following the time change.
How does Daylight Savings Impact Heart Health?
It’s no secret that we all feel extra tired for a few days after we move our clocks forward. Afterall, the main side effect on the body from daylight savings is sleep. When the time changes, even though it’s only by an hour, there’s a great effect on the body’s circadian rhythm, or internal clock. Sudden changes to the body’s circadian rhythm is related to an increased risk of heart attack in the days immediately following the time change.
According to a 2014 study led by the University of Michigan, the risk of a heart attack increases by 24% on the Monday after the time changes. Inversely, there was a 21% decrease in risk recording during the “Fall Back” change that takes place when we gain an extra hour of sleep in mid-Fall.
Other impacts on the body and daily life include:
- Increased feelings of tiredness
- Increased levels of stress and depression
- An increase in traffic and work accidents
How to Care For Your Heart for Daylight Savings
During the study, researchers found that the people who already had an increased likelihood of heart attack were the most susceptible group to a further increased risk. This means that people who already see a heart doctor for cardiovascular issues should take extra precaution when planning ahead for Daylight Savings.Here are a few heart-healthy tips that may help individuals ease their way through the time change:
- DO try to go to sleep about an hour earlier before clocks switch. This allows the body to get its normal cycle through the night and wake up with minimal change.
- Do NOT take a nap the day before or after the time change. Doing so only sets the body up to stay awake later in the evening, henceforth getting less sleep for far more days than just the night of the time change.
- DO spend the weekend outdoors. Natural daylight will help the body’s circadian rhythm adjust to the new schedule.
Sticking to these tips can help ease blood pressure levels from spiking and keep the heart beating normally through the transition. If the time change comes and goes, and you still find yourself suffering from its negative effects on your body and heart, contact the professionals at CT Cardio. Dr. Thomas and his staff are ready to help keep your heart healthy no matter the time of year.
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