Diet, Heart Health, Sleep

Daylights Savings Time Is Detrimental To Your Health. Here Is What You Can Do About It

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35817031_sWe all “lost” an hour of sleep today. Daylight Savings Time has been in practice for a very long time, but is it really worth it? Turns out, it may be more than an temporary inconvenience or disruption. Daylight Savings Time can really have a big effect your health over time.

Usually, the time change is more difficult to handle in the spring than in the fall, because in the spring, we lose an hour of sleep.

Here are several ways in which Daylight Savings Time changes can negatively impact your health.

1. Your body is going to make a major adjustment and try to go to sleep earlier in the night. So this could mean that you have difficulty falling asleep at night and you will be extra groggy the next day. It is estimated that we lose an average of 40 minutes of sleep every spring. This could potentially lead to mood disturbances and irritability. More seriously, it could lead to serious cognitive impairment, leading to higher risk of car accidents and workplace injuries.

2. Your risk for a heart attack and stroke increases. Research shows that the overall rate of ischemic stroke (the type that is most common and is caused by a clot blocking flow to the brain) was 8% higher in the 2 days after the Daylight Savings Time. In addition, those over the age of 65 have a significantly increased risk of stroke right after the time change, as much as 20%. Another 2014 study found that losing this hour of sleep in the springtime is also associated with a higher short term risk of heart attack.

3. Last but not least, Daylight Savings Time can also mess with your diet. Sleep deprivation is known to disrupt the hormones in your body. When you don’t get enough sleep, the hormone ghrelin is released. This hormone makes us hungry. Sleep deprivation also decreases the release of the hormone leptin, which triggers feelings of satisfaction when we eat. All of this together can lead to increased appetite and cravings, and overeating. When you lose sleep, you are also going to have increased insulin resistance and your body will be more likely to store calories as fat.

So what is your best strategy to avoid these health wrecking consequences every spring?

Here are a few simple solutions.

1. Avoid the use of caffeine and other stimulants, in order not to mess with your circadian rhythm.

2. Give yourself exposure to sunlight if possible, when you wake up. Sunlight can help reset your body’s internal clock.

3. Give yourself a gentle transition starting the week before. Start going to bed 10 minutes earlier each night and waking up 10 minutes earlier each morning. in 5-6 days you should be able to ease in to the Daylight Savings transition easily.

Hopefully these tips will serve you well in the week to come as well as in future years as we continue to handle Daylight Savings Time every spring and fall.

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