T.S.Eliot might have considered April to be the cruelest month, but that’s probably because he didn’t have to deal with the effects of Daylight Saving Time (DST) on sleep in March.
On the surface, springing forward or falling back one single hour doesn’t sound like it would have a major effect on us beyond being slightly annoying, right? Well, truth of the matter is, it can cause a series of snowball effects, all starting with our circadian rhythms. Our sleep is affected in a big way, partially because we have to make up that hour while the days are getting longer, making us feel less and less like going to bed early. Check out what else research has uncovered regarding your health and daylight saving time changes.
5 Ways Daylight Saving Time Can Affects Your Health
Heart attacks increase
Studies have found a 25% increase in heart attacks on the Monday following DST. Since the rest of the week stays fairly within the range of normal, it’s thought that the additional stress of less sleep exacerbates existing heart issues.
Stroke rates rise as well
Cardiovascular difficulties abound around DST - another study found that stroke rates increased for two days following the time change. In short, any change in sleep can affect mental health and contribute to high blood pressure. Both of which, in turn, have effects on your heart.
Surprise, right? But the side effects of fatigue can have high costs, especially when it comes to productivity at work or during your everyday activities. And Google has the receipts. Searches for “cyberloafing” content increase sharply (think ESPN, YouTube videos, etc).
Particularly cluster headaches. Incidences of headaches tend to increase around temperature and light changes. So in addition to DST, take extra care around the solstices as well.
In the spring, at least (the fall has the opposite effect). As the sunlight increases and we’re able to spend more time outside, it all helps to bring more balance to our bodies.
As Daylight Saving Time rolls around, the best way to help yourself through it is self-care. Allow yourself plenty of time for rest and relaxation. You’ll sync up eventually, but an important thing to remember is to work the hour change into your regular schedule. The closer you stick to your routine, the faster your body will adjust..
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