Believe it or not, daylight saving time – when we “spring forward” and set our clocks one hour ahead – may be harmful to your health. While you may not have felt the slight time change immediately, the shift can significantly impact your well-being, experts say.
In fact, over time, the switch can become difficult, leaving you feeling groggy, as well as impacting your motor skills, appetite and heart.
How daylight saving time affects your health
A 2016 study found that the overall rate for stroke jumped 8 percent in the two days following daylight saving time, with cancer patients and people aged 65 and older, 25 percent and 20 percent more likely to suffer a heart ailment, respectively.
“Previous studies have shown that disruptions in a person’s circadian rhythm, also called an internal body clock, increase the risk of ischemic stroke, so we wanted to find out if daylight saving time was putting people at risk,” says study author Jori Ruuskanen, MD, PhD, of the University of Turku in Turku, Finland.
Another study indicates that the number of heart attacks was about 21 percent lower than usual for the week following the conclusion of daylight saving time than all the other weeks of the year.
According to a U.S. study conducted in 2014, heart attacks may be linked to disrupted sleep cycles — which could explain the decreased risk of heart attack and stroke after the clocks turn back, as individuals find more time to kick up their feet and rest, the study’s author Amneet Sandhu, a cardiology fellow at the University of Colorado in Denver, told Reuters.
“With daylight saving time, all of this is compounded by one less hour of sleep,” says Sandhu, who presented his findings at the annual scientific sessions of the American College of Cardiology in Washington.
“Our study suggests that sudden, even small changes in sleep could have detrimental effects,” he adds.
In addition to heart health, your motor skills may take a big hit. During a 2009 study, researchers examined over 500,000