Coping with Daylight Savings Time

We love the extra light, but losing an hour of sleep when we “spring forward” can be difficult — and possibly harmful to your health.

Nothing says winter is almost over like when we “spring forward” and move the clocks ahead an hour on the second Sunday in March. The extra daylight delights many, but research shows that the effects of Daylight Savings Time could be harmful to your health. Research shows an increase in heart attacks, hospital admissions for atrial fibrillation and motor vehicle accidents on the Monday after the time change. The cause may be as simple as losing an hour of sleep leads to sleepier people, as research also shows that changing clocks in the fall does not cause the same problems.  

The good news is that you can cope with Daylight Savings Time. Here are a few tips:

  • Stick to your usual sleep schedule. If you normally go to bed at 10 p.m., go to bed at 9 p.m. after you move the clocks ahead. Or better yet, go to bed 15 minutes earlier than usual. Being well rested can help you cope with the time change.
  • Be careful of caffeine. Consider avoiding caffeine later in the day to avoid interference with sleep.
  • Nap if needed, but don’t overdo it. Use the weekends to catch up with sleep.
  • Focus on overall health. Eat well and exercise. It will help you sleep better and feel better as you enjoy the sunshine.

For information on sleep disorders, visit the CDC website or speak with a Lahey physician.

*The content on this website is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. Please consult a physician regarding your specific medical condition, diagnosis and/or treatment.

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