Daylight Saving Time and your health

Health

We all know the terms “spring forward” and “fall back.” But does the time change make you feel bad?

Your circadian rhythm is your 24-hour natural cycle. Just a slight shift an hour ahead or behind can have vast impacts on various aspects of your life.

If you think you have adjusted, you may want to think again. It can take days to about one week for a person to adjust to the time change.

Psychiatrist Dr. Sue Varma says this can affect your sleeping, eating, productivity and safety.

“What we are finding is it’s not just this one day, we think that magically we wake up and we have an extra hour but the shorter daylight hours leading up to it is particularly difficult for people who are prone to seasonal blue or affective disorder.”

Most of us are now driving home in the dark, which can endanger drivers as well as pedestrians.

Visibility is reduced due to the sun setting earlier, and that can also make us feel more tired when we’re behind the wheel. Studies show an increase in automobile accidents and pedestrian fatalities and injuries when it gets darker earlier. 

There’s also a correlation to your health. Research indicates a decrease in heart attacks around the end of daylight saving time, but a spike in heart attacks in the spring-when we lose that hour of sleep. 

All states except for Hawaii and Arizona take part in daylight saving time.

The best way to adjust to the new time?

Give yourself and everyone in your household some time to adjust, and make sure you use extra caution when heading out on the roads. 

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