According to the American Heart Association, scientific research supports the idea that losing a much-needed hour of sleep may not be the only thing to worry about “moving forward” when clocks switch to daylight saving time plus later this month. The upcoming time change can also have a negative impact on your heart and brain health.
The concept of daylight saving time describes the practice of moving clocks forward one hour from standard time during the transition to the summer months in order to extend the practical use of natural daylight . This year, daylight saving time begins on Sunday, March 13. Numerous scientific studies report an increase in the incidence of heart disease and stroke during this time transition.
A study from New York, presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in 2018, reported that hospital admissions for atrial fibrillation (AFib), the most common type of irregular heartbeat, increase with the transition to ‘summer time. The researchers found that from the Monday through Thursday following the start of the spring time transition, there were 3.13 AFib hospital admissions per day, compared to 2.56 daily admissions for the same days averaged over the rest of the year. There was no noticeable difference in AFib admissions from Monday to Thursday following the fall transition at the end of DST.
The Monday following the spring daylight saving time (after losing one hour of sleep) was associated with a 24% increase in the daily number of heart attacks and the Tuesday following the fall daylight saving time (gaining one hour of sleep) was conversely associated with a 21% reduction in heart attacks, according to a study from Michigan.
Stroke rates also increase with the change to daylight saving time. In one study from Finland, researchers found that the overall rate of ischemic stroke was 8% higher in the first two days after daylight saving time.
“We don’t really know the specific reason for the increase in heart disease and strokes during the daylight saving time change, but it likely has something to do with disruption to the body’s internal clock or of its circadian rhythm,” said the American Heart Association. Chairman Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, MD, Sc.M., FAHA, Chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine, Eileen M. Foell Professor of Cardiac Research, and Professor of Preventive Medicine, Medicine, and Pediatrics at the Feinberg School of Medicine in Northwestern University in Chicago. “If you’re already at risk for cardiovascular disease, changing the clock could be even more risky. It’s important to work on improving your health risk factors throughout the year, and you can take some specific steps to prepare for the impact of ‘rushing forward’ each spring.”
- Now start getting as much light as possible each day. This can help adjust your body rhythm for the upcoming change.
- Start winding down a little earlier in the evenings to come. Although you can never make up for lost sleep, it can help to approach the time change well rested.
- Don’t compensate with extra caffeine. It may seem like an extra coffee or two can get you through the midday slump, but too much caffeine isn’t good for your heart.
- Don’t take a nap. Most people don’t get enough sleep at all times; adding a cat nap to your afternoon can make it even harder to sleep well that night.
According to Lloyd-Jones, the best preparation for the time change is to make gradual improvements to your lifestyle throughout the year. Move more. Have your cholesterol and blood pressure checked. Be sure to work on healthy sleep habits and eat smart.
“These healthy lifestyles won’t just ease the body clock’s annual shock, they’re proven ways to lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, helping you live longer, healthier lives. “, did he declare.
Hospital admissions for atrial fibrillation increase with daylight saving time
Quote: Biological clock shock? “Springing forward” may have drawbacks for heart health (2022, March 4) retrieved March 4, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-03-biological-clock-drawbacks-heart-health.html
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