Can daylight saving time impact your health?

Now that our clocks have sprung forward and we’ve lost an hour of sleep, how does that impact our health?
Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 5:32 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Now that our clocks have sprung forward and we’ve lost an hour of sleep, how does that impact our health?

“We increase daylight saving time there where we jump forward there is an increase risk a cardiovascular risk, we see an increase risk of stroke, increase risk of heart attack,” said Dr. Jeff Foxx of Family Practice Associates of Lexington.

Why are there increased health risks with the time change?

“Well, that’s a great question. The body has a normal internal clock, a circadian rhythm that we get used to, and when that disrupts, it disrupts a lot of stuff, not only cardiovascular such as stroke or heart attack, but it can affect your immune system,” said Dr. Foxx.

Dr. Foxx says there is good news. When there’s extra light in the evening, people may want to exercise more outside, making us healthier.

On the flip side, Dr. Foxx says, “That extra light affects our sleep hormones, affects our melatonin, so we may not go to bed as early. We may not sleep as well through the night, so we wake up in the morning fatigued.”

The time change also impacts our daily commute.

“Accidents also increase around the time of time change,” said Dr. Foxx.

Lori Weaver Hawkins of the American Automobile Association of the Bluegrass says if you feel sleepy behind the wheel, simply pull over and take a break.

“It’s amazing at what just a half-hour nap at a rest stop can do to refresh you and make you safer on the roads,” said Hawkins.

Dr. Foxx says making the proper adjustments to your sleep pattern during daylight saving time is key to a healthy lifestyle.

As to whether springing forward is good for us?

“It appears it is probably healthier overall if we stay to standard time on a year ‘round basis,” said Dr. Foxx.

Dr. Foxx also mentioned people may experience mood change and depression during the time change. He says after a two to three-week time span, most of us will have adjusted to daylight saving time.