Your Health and Daylight Saving Time
DST can affect both your body clock and health. Studies show that there is an increase in both heart attacks and road accidents the days after clocks are set forward one hour in Spring.
Setting your clock forward one hour for Daylight Saving Time (DST) means losing one hour of sleep on the Sunday morning.
Disrupts the body clock
Although people adjust differently to less sleep, and some people feel the adverse effects more than others, there are some common issues that setting your clocks for Summer Time may cause.
- It can feel a little harder to get out of bed on Monday morning after springing forward one hour on the Sunday morning.
- It may be difficult to get to bed at the normal time on Sunday night after the start of DST.
- Children may feel tired and cranky for several days after an hour's change in their bedtime routines.
Little by little
There are some simple ways of making it easier to handle the hour change.
- Set your alarm to wake up a little earlier than usual on the Saturday and Sunday before the DST switch. This makes it easier to get out of bed on Monday morning.
- Eat a healthy breakfast first thing. Food also tells your body it is the start of the day.
- The light, and especially the sunlight helps to adjust your body clock.
- Help your child adjust by changing bedtime to a little bit earlier the week before the time change.
More heart attacks
Being tired can decrease productivity, concentration and general well-being. Several studies also link DST to increased risk of heart attacks, road accidents and sleep problems:
- A Swedish study in 2008 found that the risk of having a heart attack increases in the first three days after switching to DST
- Similarly, the risk decreases after setting the time back to Standard Time in the fall.
- Traffic accidents increase on the Monday following the start of DST. Tired drivers is the main reason.
- For persistent problems, taking supplements of the sleep hormone Melatonin may help. These should be prescribed by a doctor.
In this Article
- History of DST
- History of DST in Europe
- Your Health and DST
- Controversy of DST
- 1 Hour Back or Forward?
- Summer or Winter Time?
- Savings or Saving?
- DST in the US Changed in 2005