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Daylight Savings Impacts More Than Just Your Sleep Schedule

This weekend, November 3rd, Daylight Savings will come for it’s biannual visit to the world and set our clocks back one hour. This round of daylight savings is normally more favorable than the one that occurs in the spring, due to the fact that it feels like we all can sleep an extra hour before heading to work on Monday. However, regardless of which way the clocks are moving, daylight savings affects your sleep and overall health every year. Any modifications we make to our sleep schedules, whether it be from jet lag, adjusting to accommodate for a new baby or pet, etc. will always affect our bodies functioning and health.

USA Today reviewed over 100 medical papers in relation to how daylight savings affects physical and mental health in an effort to see if the event actually accomplishes its goal of making the best out of seasonal daylight. It takes about five to seven days for your body to fully adjust to the shift in time. Even though it’s just one hour, your body’s clock is used to waking up at a certain time during certain days of the week and sleeping in for others, assuming you work a nine to five, five day work week. So even shifting your routine by one hour will mean your body needs time to adjust. 

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Additionally, individuals who already suffer from sleep deprivation, insomnia, or anything else that normally affects how long and how well you sleep are likely to struggle more every daylight savings. These individuals may notice issues with their memory, learning, social interactions, and overall cognitive performance, as anyone would who doesn’t get enough sleep (USA). If you’re somebody who knows that daylight savings severely messes with their sleep cycle and therefore overall well-being, it’s recommended you go see your physician, or a sleep specialist to talk out potential options to help you. While rare, depending on the preexisting health conditions of an individual, heart attack and stroke are more likely to occur during daylight savings. 

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“When Americans lose one hour of sleep in the spring, the risk of heart attack increases by 25%. When the clock gives back that hour of sleep the risk of heart attack decreases by 21%,” According to a study led by a University of Colorado fellow in 2014.

“Turning the clock ahead or behind an hour could [also] increase the risk of stroke. That’s because disrupting a person’s internal body clock might increase the risk of ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke, according to researchers. The risk of ischemic stroke is 8% higher two days after a daylight saving time,” according to a preliminary study presented at the 2016 American Academy of Neurology.

It’s important to note that both these studies were presented at their preliminary stages, so these conclusions are not universally accepted to be true, however, its safe to say everyone’s bodies get a little off balance every year during daylight savings. What’s most important is that you listen to your body, a lot of people think that their fatigue is just due to their internal body clock resetting, however, if you’re noticing the consistent and heavy weight of sleep always looming over you, you should talk about it with a professional. Caffeine helps, but isn’t the end all be all solution to cure your tiredness. Sleep and resting your body is the only way to ensure it will be functioning at 100%.