Health impacts of Day Light Saving Time

Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 3:25 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Two days ago, most of us were asked to set our clocks forward in recognition of Day Light Saving time. It’s just an hour.

But these days there’s plenty of evidence out there to show 60-minutes can play a real number on our brain.

“Any time there is a shift in our clock it will again, affect us negatively,” says Dr. Shanaz Ahmad with the University of Nevada Reno School of Medicine Family Medicine Department. “It will be difficult for us to fall asleep, and in turn waking up.”

Dr. Ahmad says it’s not just our head. Literally our heart also seems to be impacted by Day Light Saving Time.

“In the springtime when we lose an hour…significant increase in heart attacks and stroke in just the days following the adjustment,” says Dr. Ahmad. “Conversely in the fall when we gain an hour there’s a significant decrease in heart attacks and strokes.”

Proteins, hormones, all kinds of chemicals in our bodies can be impacted by lack of sleep.

In some cases, it becomes a cascade effect with trouble sleeping, becoming the anxiety about sleeping, turns in to no sleeping at all. This can become highlighted during Day Light Saving Time. Days after, concentration may be lower, anxiety may be heightened, depression can sink in. Decisions may be tougher to come by.

Dr. Ahmad says next year at this time prepare for Day Light Saving time by adding more time to your sleep routine weeks prior to the infamous Saturday.

“By 15-or-30 minutes can make a lot of difference. Try to achieve that whole hour,” she says.

In the meantime, she says stop with electronic use 30 minutes before bed. Don’t drink caffeinated beverages at night, and get plenty of exercise.

The body of evidence concerning the negative health problems of Day Light Saving time is well established with some unexpected ramifications. Not only does day light saving time impact the internal clock it also impacts the part of our brain that can help us assess peoples’ needs.

One study shows giving to local charities goes down by 10% in the spring in states which recognize day light saving.

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