How Daylight Savings Effects Your Health


While springing forward does have its benefits – end of winter and more sun in the evenings – it also has its downsides, i.e. sleep loss. Though it may only be one hour, that’s one hour our chronically sleep-deprived population can’t afford to lose.
With all the news coming out about circadian rhythms and common sleep disorders like sleep apnea, it’s not surprising that moving the clocks forward has some negative side effects. Below are five ways that messing with time hurts your health:

#1: YOU’LL FEEL TIRED THE MORNING AFTER

Naturally, losing sleep throws your body out of its natural rhythm. As I mentioned above, more and more research is coming out about circadian rhythms, which essentially is the body’s internal clock. When the internal regulator for sleeping patterns is disrupted, it effects the quality and quantity of sleep.

The spring time change doesn’t only mean one hour less of sleep. According to a 2013 review in the Journal of Sleep Medicine, people sleep about an hour less for almost an entire week following the time change. It takes time to get the body back in-sync with it’s natural, internal clock. So, don’t be surprised when you feel less alert and more stressed.

#2: YOU’RE MORE AT RISK FOR HEART ATTACK

Research from the American College of Cardiology finds that moving the clocks forward may increase the risk for heart attack. Data from more than 42,000 hospitals in Michigan revealed that heart attacks spiked by 25% the Monday following the spring time change. On the other hand, the opposite proved true when moving the clocks forward. Researchers discovered that heart attacks dropped by 21% the Tuesday after the fall time change.

The researchers did note that heart attacks often occur Monday mornings anyways (more reason not to like Mondays). However, the added lack of sleep due to daylight savings magnifies the likelihood of heart attacks. The National Sleep Foundation says that sleep deprivation effects metabolism and increases blood pressure, as well as inflammation. These side effects leave the body prone to heart problems.

 #3: YOU’RE LESS PRODUCTIVE

This goes hand-in-hand with #1. Losing sleep means losing motivation. According to research published in Journal of Applied Psychology, if you’re tired, you don’t want to work. Instead of working, people were more inclined to surf the web for personal entertainment the day after the clocks spring forward, researchers found.

Google corroborated these findings. On the Monday following the time change, Google users searched for 3% more entertaining websites versus the previous Monday. When tired, employees simply aren’t motivated, and they’re also not very attentive. Researchers explain that instead of paying attention to a meeting people will scroll through social media instead. This distraction may hinder a person’s job performance.

So if you’re boss says anything about your productivity this next week, blame it on the time change.

#4: YOU’RE LIKELY TO INJURE YOURSELF

If you manage heavy machinery or work in dangerous situations, then you’re at risk of injury following daylight savings. A study, published by the American Psychological Association, analyzed an injury report, covering the last two decades, from the Mine Safety and Health Administration. The researchers found that losing an hour of sleep incurred, on average, four more injuries on the Monday after daylight savings. Missing just one hour of sleep is enough to effect your mental acuity. So, be careful at work this next week!

#5: YOU’RE DANGEROUS BEHIND THE WHEEL

Losing sleep not only effects you at work but also on the road. Researchers from Stanford and Johns Hopkins Universities analyzed 21 years of car accident data. They ended up finding that fatal accidents increased by 6% after the time change.

Getting less than the recommended hours of sleep (6-8 hours) increases the chance of car accidents so much so that it’s like driving drunk. Fatigued driving is dangerous so make sure to stock up on coffee this week.

Final Comments

Because daylight savings increases your chances of heart attack and injury – whether at work or on the road – it’s important to have quality health coverage. Contact a licensed agent today to make sure you’re fully insured.

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