Daylight Saving Time (DST) was created with the intention of giving people more time to either work or enjoy the sunlight during the summer months. So, every year, on the second Sunday in March, our clocks “spring forward” an hour. One hour might not seem like a big deal, but for many, the transition can be hard on our bodies and psyche.
Stroke & Heart Attack
A change or disruption in your circadian clock puts extra stress on the body. This is why you often see an increase in strokes and heart attacks the week following Spring's DST. One study found there was an 8% higher possibility of stroke two days following DST, and for those 65+ having an even higher possibility with a 20% increase. When it comes to heart attacks, there is a 10% increased risk the week following DST, with the Monday having a 24% jump compared to other Mondays throughout the year.
The days following Spring’s DST can wreak havoc on not only your heart, but your brain. The ability to pay attention is decreased due to lack of rest and can cause you to have accidents either in your home, work, or car. How can you combat this? Go to bed early on Saturday night before the time change, get plenty of sleep, and remain vigilant of others for several days.
For your own mental health, you must prepare your kids for DST, because if not, you’ll have a VERY long week. Here are some tips in helping them transition:
- Take Baby Steps - It takes some time to adapt to the one-hour loss of sleep. To help adjust, gradually start shifting your kid's bedtime later by 15-minute increments. If possible, wake them up a little earlier, as well.
- Dim The Lights - Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate your body's internal circadian clock. It increases in the evening as it becomes dark, which helps induce sleep.
- Stick To Your Routine – With the change in schedule, it’s important to stick with a bedtime routine. Routines create a powerful signal for sleep.
- Get Enough Sleep NOW - Sleep begets sleep. A well-rested child won’t be cranky and overtired.
Once you’ve adjusted to the hour time change, enjoy the extra sunlight!