Is springing forward a danger to your health?

Is springing forward a danger to your health?

Sunday, March 10, marks the beginning of daylight saving time, the spring ritual of setting your clock ahead one hour. The thought of longer, sunny days ahead may bring a smile to your face. Losing an hour of sleep, probably not so much.

Your heart isn’t a fan of this sudden change to your routine either. In fact, your risk of having a heart attack increases by 24% the Monday after ‘springing forward,’ according to the American Heart Association. While the exact cause hasn’t been determined, many experts believe your circadian rhythm is to blame.

“Losing an hour of sleep can throw off your circadian rhythm and therefore other functions in your body, for example, your blood pressure, hormones, heart rate, and concentration from sleep troubles,” explains Dr. Yelena Tumashova, a sleep medicine physician at Advocate Health Care. “If you are at risk for cardiovascular disease going into daylight savings, you naturally will be more impacted by this shift in your circadian rhythm.”

Dr. Tumashova recommends the following tips to ease your body into the ‘spring forward’:

  • Spend more time in natural light each day leading up to the time change.
  • Try following the new daylight savings time before the actual switch on March 10.
  • Prioritize going to bed earlier each night a few days ahead of time.
  • Stick to good sleep hygiene. This includes following a bedtime routine, eliminating technology distractions and practicing meditation.
  • Don’t compensate with caffeine. Too much caffeine isn’t good for your heart, and this can also disrupt your sleep later.
  • Skip taking a nap. It may be tempting, but it’s best to hold off so you can fall asleep more easily that night.

If you experience sleep troubles outside of daylight saving time, talk to your doctor about your options.

Take a free online quiz to learn more about your risk for heart disease.

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  1. Joseph Crowther March 7, 2024 at 12:39 pm · Reply

    We all lose an hour of night, not necessarily an hour of sleep. If you lose sleep, you have a planning problem

  2. It sure would be nice if congress could act to get rid of this unnecessary practice that we suffer through twice a year, especially with the known risks.

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About the Author

Anna Kohler
Anna Kohler

Anna Kohler, health enews contributor, is a public affairs specialist for Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She received her Bachelor of Science in public relations from Illinois State University and has worked in healthcare public relations and content marketing for over five years. In her free time, she enjoys working out, exploring new places with her friends and family, and keeping up with the latest social media trends.