How Daylight Savings Time Affects Your Health

Tonight we spring forward and move the clocks ahead an hour. While I’m excited that the day will be longer, I am not looking forward to losing an hour of sleep. How, exactly, does this affect our body’s internal clock? While jumping ahead an hour shouldn’t make much of a difference, according to Real Simple, science says otherwise. A recent article by Samantha Zabell discusses the weird ways in which daylight saving time wreaks havoc on our systems. Below are four ways in which it can affect our health.

  1. It messes with our sleep cycle. A survey from the Better Sleep Council found that for 29% of Americans, it will take a full a week to feel normal again after losing an hour of sleep. Twelve percent forgot to do something important and 5% said they acted irrationally.
  2. Roads become unsafe. Real Simple reports that “research has shown that fatal car accidents increase the Monday after we lose an hour, likely due to sleep deprivation.”
  3. We’ll waste more time at work. A Penn State study found that losing just 40 minutes of sleep is correlated to an increase in surfing the web, checking Facebook, and other unproductive activities. Real Simple explains it like this: “Entertainment-related Internet searches spike the Monday after the beginning of daylight saving time, compared to other Mondays before and after.”
  4. It affects our heart health. A 2012 study discovered that heart attack risk increases by 10% on the Monday and Tuesday following the daylight saving time change. The time change causes a slight shock to the immune system, a change in circadian rhythms, and sleep deprivation.

Find out four more ways in which Daylight Savings affects our health on Real Simple.

Learn the interesting history of the seasonal spring time change by reading Seize the Daylight.

How do you feel about the time change?