Already mourning lost sleep from this morning? Most people will sleep about 40 minutes less on Sunday night after daylight saving time returns, bad news for the 47 million American who are already sleep-deprived. But those aren’t the only impacts it can have on your health.
You’re more likely to have a heart attack
In the three days after we spring forward, we’re five percent more likely to have a heart attack, according to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine. Another study found a jump as big as 25 percent. One possible explanation is that sleep deprivation releases stress hormones that increase inflammation, causing complications in those already at higher risk of having a heart attack. The good news? Our risk falls by 21 percent when daylight saving time ends in November.
Your performance suffers
It can be tough enough to guzzle enough coffee to function at the office on Monday mornings, and you can expect tomorrow morning to be even harder. A 2012 study in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that we spend more time online on non-work related websites the first Monday after daylight saving time starts than on the Mondays before or after it. There’s also over a five percent jump in workplace accidents that Monday.
Your sleep efficiency is lower
The impact of daylight saving time on our sleep quality goes beyond a lost hour. Researchers say that sleep efficiency—the ratio of time you spend actually sleeping compared to the amount of time you spend in bed—is disrupted for as long as a week or more after we spring forward. One study found that sleep time is reduced by up to an hour a day for five days following the change—and it’s especially tough on night owls.
How to Deal:
Adjusting to the time change is different for everyone. Some people adjust in a few days; for others, it takes more time.
Wake up early. Exposing yourself to the bright light in the morning will help you adjust. After a dark winter season, the sun may seem harsh at first.
Don’t Take Naps. Avoiding naps is key for adjusting to the time change. Try not to take naps, If you have to take them, take them early and for no longer than 20 minutes.
Long naps are a sign of sleep deprivation and other underlying health issues. Research says short naps improve brain function, leaving you refreshed afterward.
Avoid Coffee and Caffeinated Drinks. Avoid coffee and caffeinated beverages four to six hours before bedtime.
It’s also important to follow good sleep hygiene habits
Turn off the House of Cards marathon. Power down distractions like the TV, cell phone, and laptop well before bedtime—the blue light they emit suppress melatonin secretion, disrupting sleep.
What are you doing to help adjust to daylight savings time and springing forward one hour?
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