Daylight savings time usually is followed by the Monday blues, and the constant complaining of being overworked and not rested, scientist now claim the loss of an hour medically affects the body.
Not only are people losing an hour of sleep by springing forward, but their circadian rhythm — aka the bodies internal clock- gets thrown off course, which is why most people report feeling very unusual and, in some cases, depressed.
Plenty of people claim they feel a sort of “blah” following the time change.
According to Dr. Jay Puangco, a neurologist specializing in sleep medicine at the Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach, California, claims that most people underestimate the importance of sleep and that the human brain needs to prep to get used to the new schedule.
“Poor sleep can lead to a craving for high-calorie foods, unhealthy snacking, and fast food,” he explained. “There is less desire to exercise. This combination can lead to poor judgment, decreased productivity, and irritability. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to a cascade of physical illnesses as common as a cold and as severe as diabetes or heart failure.”
However, he notes that not everyone is affected the same way or even at all, this is “Because we lose one hour of sleep, there is a possibility of feeling tired because of this change,” said Dr. Robert Segal, a cardiologist, and co-founder of Labfinder.com in New York.
“For some, it might not mean much. However, for others, it can cause harm, such as an increased risk of heart attack, workplace injuries due to lack of sleep, or even traffic accidents. Hospitals even noted that the number of stroke hospitalizations increases,” he added.
More importantly are the studies that have found an increase in heart attacks following the time change, Dr. Subbarao Myla, director of Cardiac Cath Labs at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, claims it’s still unknown what’s prompting the increase in heart attacks.
“The actual increase in heart attack usually occurs on the spring-forward Monday,” Myla said. He highlights the fact that heart attack occurrence may increase dramatically that day. “This wide variation in the increase is due to how people define this heart attack population.”
Myla explained how some studies like the Michigan Medicine study, only counted certain types of heart attack care, such as angioplasty stent, not analyzing all heart attack treatments.
“Hoag completed a two-year-long study on this same topic and found an increase of 50 percent in heart attacks on the spring-forward Monday,” Myla said. “In Hoag’s study, we took into account all heart attack treatment, from medical management to angioplasty, stent, and bypass.”
He also highlights the fact that studies have also discovered a decrease in heart attacks in the fall after daylight savings ends.
Researchers current theories about why there may be a spike in heart attacks is that time change leads to a disturbance in the circadian biological rhythm, according to Myla and the team of researchers.
“Elevated stress due to adjusting to a new routine, having lack of sleep, which can cause lack of concentration and other issues,” Myla explained. “Along with a rhythm disturbance, blood pressure rises during this time.”
Experts also point out that blood can change consistency depending on the stress levels in the body.
“Blood becomes thicker and stickier,” he said. “In general, if you map out the timing of when heart attacks most commonly take place, they happen between 5 to 7 a.m. This time of day, your platelet activity increases and blood sugar rises.”
She urges people to “try and go to bed and wake up 15 minutes earlier starting a few days before the time change, then an additional 15 minutes earlier the day before the time change,” she said. “This will help your body make a smoother transition rather than a more abrupt one.”
Daylight savings is just a few days away, remember to set the clocks in the house an hour forward Sunday and try to ease the body and mind into a rhythm.
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