As we turn our clocks forward this Sunday for Daylight Saving Time our bodies must adjust to one less hour of sleep. Research has shown that this seemingly small time shift can have significant implications for our health.
A 2016 study in Finland found that just two days after the time shift the rate of stroke rose 8%. Those with cancer were 25% more likely to have a stroke during that time, while people 65 and older were 20% more likely to suffer a stroke. A 2012 study from the University of Alabama Birmingham found that the Monday and Tuesday after daylight saving time is associated with a 10% increase in heart attacks. Other studies have linked the hour lost to DSL with more workplace injuries and auto accidents, and decreased cognitive ability.
While the reason isn't clear, it's known that the disruption of the circadian clock do to sleep disruption and shift work increases the risk of stroke. To reduce the side effects of the DSL time shift, the National Sleep Foundation recommends sleeping in Sunday morning and taking a nap that afternoon as well as these other tips for getting a good night's sleep:
- Most adults need seven to nine hours to function properly
- Leave a couple of hours between eating and going to bed
- Turn off mobile devices before you head to bed. Blue light from screens can affect your ability to sleep
- Make your room all about sleep: Use a comfortable mattress, pillow and bedding, and keep your room dark
- Create a bedtime ritual. Make deep breathing, stretches and other relaxing exercises part of your preslumber routine
- Keep a piece of paper next to your bed. Write down any worries before trying to get to sleep