As hard as it may be to believe, it has been recorded that losing just one hour of sleep can cause an increase in heart attacks. Apparently, babies, the elderly, and everyone in between will feel the effects of turning the clocks ahead.
Although it can be exciting in the fall when we gain an extra hour of sleep, it ‘s not so fun losing an hour when our clocks “spring” forward. A study published in the American Journal of Cardiology, March 2014, showed a small increase in heart attacks the day following the time change. As well as a slight decrease when we turn the clocks back. Losing that hour of sleep is having a negative affect on our internal clock and circadian rhythm.
So why put our bodies at such a risk by taking away an hour when we clearly need all the hours we can get?
Although many have questioned the idea of eliminating Daylight Savings Time (DST), others suggest it is useful for saving energy. We are able to decrease our electricity use by keeping lights off for an extra hour at work and home because of the natural sunlight.
On April 30th, 1916, Germany was the first country to introduce DST to minimize the use of artificial lighting in order to save fuel during World War I. Unfortunately, this may have caused more harm than good as we now know of the dangerous effects.
Did you know, a poor night’s sleep can impair your physical movements and mental focus in the same way as you having a blood alcohol level of 0.10 percent. Decreasing your sleep time and throwing off your internal clock can result in you having the level of impairment as someone who is drunk. This may also be the reason studies show an increase in car accidents, suicides and a decrease in work productivity following daylight savings.
How can you prepare yourself for DST:
- Go to bed early Saturday and Sunday night to limit the shock on Monday morning
- Be mindful of what you’re eating and make healthy choices
- Workout over the weekend, preferably outside to increase your time in sunlight
- Limit the use of electronics and television prior to the time you close your eyes
- Limit your stress, surrounding yourself with positive energy
Remember, sleep is very important for a healthy and happy body. It has a major effect on memory, cognitive impairment, and alertness. The chances of heart attacks, car accidents, occupational injuries and much more are at a much higher risk when you lose sleep. So get to bed early, your body will thank you!
Michelle Wolfe, RMT