This weekend, millions of Americans will be moving their clocks forward by an hour in the wee hours of Sunday morning. With one hour less to sleep that night, some try to simply “tough it out” and manage through the day with less rest. But researchers are warning that doing so can potentially have severe health implications.
Researchers have found that the decreased amount of sunlight in the morning due to Daylight Saving Time is associated with an increase in heart attacks and strokes, as well as other negative effects of getting less sleep, like loss of productivity and a higher rate of injuries and accidents. These effects are most statistically noticeable in the days following the changing of the clocks, but they continue to be noticeable for the entire duration of Daylight Saving Time.
Because of these and other studies, some are arguing that we should be doing away with Daylight Saving Time completely. In fact, the European Union has voted to end the practice of Daylight Saving Time in October of 2021.
But with no end in sight for Daylight Saving Time in the United States, it is worth taking a moment to plan your sleep cycle for when it goes into effect. To mitigate potentially adverse effects of the change, make sure to get enough sleep, especially on the first few nights of DST. Go to sleep a little earlier – even if it’s still a little light outside. Keep your circadian rhythm steady; try not to have your entire sleep/wake cycle thrown into chaos.
Taking little steps to ensure that you are getting enough sleep is not only common sense, it might just save your life.