How daylight saving time affects your health
Daylight saving time has ended, with clocks “falling back” an hour Sunday, giving Americans the feeling of an extra hour in the morning, which could negatively affect their health.
Timothy Morgenthaler, Mayo Clinic’s co-director of the Center for Sleep Medicine, has reviewed about 100 medical papers related to how the time change could affect health. Here’s what you should know:
❚ Sleep: Gaining or losing an hour will likely affect sleep patterns, often for about five to seven days, Morgenthaler said.
The most notable changes are in those who regularly do not get enough sleep. The sleep-deprived might struggle with memory, learning, social interactions and overall cognitive performance – though of course the “fall back” isn’t as bad as the “spring forward,” Morgenthaler noted.
❚ Heart attack or stroke: According to a study led by a University of Colorado fellow in 2014, when Americans lose one hour of sleep in the spring, the risk of heart attack increases 25 percent. When the clock gives back that hour of sleep, the risk of heart attack decreases by 21 percent. (The limited study looked at hospital admission data in Michigan over a four-year period.)
A preliminary study presented at the 2016 American Academy of Neurology meeting suggested turning the clock ahead or behind an hour could increase risk of stroke.
Disrupting a person’s internal body clock might increase the risk of ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke, according to researchers. The data showed risk of ischemic stroke was 8 percent higher two days after a daylight saving time change.