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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 in the days after clocks are set forward 1 hour in spring.

Illustration image

DST gives an extra hour in bed in the fall.

A DST switch can disrupt sleeping patterns in adults and children.

©bigstockphoto.com/NejroN Photo

Setting your clock forward 1 hour for Daylight Saving Time (DST) could mean losing an hour of sleep on the morning after the change.

More Heart Attacks

Being tired can decrease productivity, concentration, and general well-being. Studies have found that setting the clocks forward for spring increases the 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 in the spring.
  • Traffic accidents increase on the Monday following the start of DST. Tired drivers are the main reason.

Depression Trigger

Losing 1 hour of afternoon daylight after setting the clocks back to standard time can trigger seasonal depressions like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or winter depression. A Danish study found an 11% increase in depression cases during after the seasonal change. The cases dissipated gradually after 10 weeks.

However, when it comes to car crashes and DST, there were less accidents after switching back to standard time, probably due to another hoour sleep.

Disrupts the Body Clock

  • It can feel a little harder to get out of bed on Monday morning after springing forward 1 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 Friday and Saturday 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.
  • Light, and especially 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.

Topics: Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time Changes:

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Daylight Saving Time – DST

  1. What is DST?
  2. One Hour Back or Forward?
  3. What is Standard Time?
  4. Savings or Saving?
  5. Pros and Cons of DST
  6. Your Health and DST
  7. Summer or Winter Time?
  8. History of DST
  9. History of DST in Europe
  10. DST Statistics

Time Zones & DST

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