Dealing with the Negative Effects of Daylight Saving Time - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Mar 9, 2020

Dealing with the Negative Effects of Daylight Saving Time

Daylight saving time can be both a blessing and a curse. Naturally, most people look forward to the end of daylight saving time, when we turn the clocks back and enjoy an extra hour of rest or recreation. However, the annual “spring forward” - when daylight saving time begins - can take a toll on your mental and physical health.

Here are some examples of the impacts daylight saving time can have on your health and behavior:

Issues with heart health

The lack of sleep brought on by the start of daylight saving time has been shown to increase chances of heart health-related issues. According to the American College of Cardiology, the number of heart attacks increases by 25 percent every year around the beginning of daylight saving time. However, this increase does not suggest that daylight saving time directly causes people to have heart attacks. The majority of the people who experienced heart attacks during daylight saving time were already at risk for heart health issues. The added stress from the lack of sleep is what puts them over the edge and triggers the heart attack.

Solution: To keep daylight saving time from triggering heart attacks, it is important to make sure you are monitoring your heart health for the months leading up to its start. Regular exercise and checkups are recommended to keep your heart health in check.

Higher chance of car accidents

The loss of sleep brought on by daylight saving time has also been shown to increase the number of car accidents. According to a study conducted at Stanford University, a significant increase in vehicular accidents was observed following the time change.

Solution: This shift shows how daylight saving time can negatively impact behavior and public safety. This reinforces the importance of preparing for the time change and making sure you get enough rest the night of daylight saving time.

Increased chance of workplace injuries

Daylight saving time has also been shown to increase the number of workplace injuries that occur. Data collected by the U.S. Department of Labor and Mine Safety and Health Administration showed a 5.7 percent increase in workplace injuries due to loss of sleep as a result of daylight saving time. The time change also causes a 68 percent increase in work days lost to injuries.

Solution: Use this information to be more aware in the workplace, and avoid dangerous situations that could cause injury to yourself or others.

Lethargy and decreased productivity

While some of the negative impacts of daylight saving time are more unpredictable, it’s no surprise that productivity takes a plunge after the sudden time change. Those who do not have a chance to catch up on their sleep are much more likely to become sluggish and less efficient during the day.

Solution: To combat feeling lethargic after daylight saving time begins, prepare for the time change by going to bed increasingly earlier for a few days ahead of the change. This can help you set a routine and acclimate your body to the new schedule.

Dietary changes

Daylight saving time can also have an impact on your appetite and diet. Two of the main hormones that influence your appetite are heavily linked to sleep. These hormones are ghrelin, which increases cravings, and leptin, which tells your body if it requires more food. This explains why lack of sleep and changes in schedule can take a toll on your appetite and eating habits.

Solution: Avoid shocking your system with sugar and caffeine prior to the time change. Plan your meals for the week of daylight saving time and head to the grocery store. Stocking up on healthy meal ingredients and snacks will help you maintain a consistent diet despite increased amounts of ghrelin and leptin.

Experiencing a sudden change in time can be jarring. Use this information to get a better understanding of how daylight saving time can affect health and behavior, and how to best prepare for the time change.