The Latest in Fitness, Nutrition, Recipe and Lifestyle News

« Home |

Expert Doctors: Here’s How To Prepare Your Heart for Daylight Saving Time

Posted by Triple Naturals I On Mar 12, 2024
Share to
Lifestyle Health

Brighter evenings are a treat, but the time change is a silent physiological stressor—and for a certain group, the strain can turn serious.

When it’s still bright out at 7 p.m. next week, that means after-work walks and chats on the patio are near. The downsides to daylight saving time may be few, but some heart doctors are warning that hour of sleep we’ll lose this weekend is more significant than endless yawns come Monday.

BREAKING: When's the last time you had good sleep?

Doctors with the American Heart Association (AHA) are urging Americans to protect our hearts by preparing for that one-hour sleep deficit. This late-winter time change requires some shifting for most everyone—but these experts say that for people with known or underlying cardiovascular issues, there are ways to help prevent it from becoming deadly.

According to the studies the AHA cites, past data illustrate that both heart attacks and strokes have increased immediately following the “spring forward.” One study in Michigan showed a 24% increase in heart attacks on the Monday after daylight saving time returned. A Finnish study showed that ischemic strokes, those caused by a blood clot, were 8% more likely the first two days after the clocks were moved ahead.

Despite studies identifying the issue, the reasons that heart attacks and strokes increase during the change to daylight saving aren’t clear. “It’s likely connected with the disruption to the body’s internal clock, or its circadian rhythm,” said Maria Delgado-Lelievre, MD, a hypertension specialist at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine and AHA volunteer expert. “It’s important to be aware of this increased risk, especially if you already have heart disease or other risk factors.”

(In general, the AHA experts explain, Mondays are the biggest days for heart attacks, and national data show December is the month with the highest heart attack rates.)


3 tips to minimize the effect of daylight saving time

Even if you don’t have a diagnosed heart issue or an increased risk of stroke, preparing ahead for the time change can make the transition smoother. The AHA shares three tips that can help:

  • Get outside and get some sunlight. If Mother Nature cooperates with good weather, make an effort to maximize your sunlight exposure this week.
  • Get to sleep a little earlier each day this week. Make this a priority especially if you have little ones or pets who need to be fed and put to bed. Consider gradually bumping your routine to happen 15 minutes earlier as the weekend approaches, and hopefully your kids and fur babies will hardly notice the difference.
  • Don’t drink more coffee or up your caffeine intake. The AHA stresses that too much caffeine is not good for the heart. While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that up to 400 milligrams is generally safe, that can vary from person to person, and pouring more to get through that manic Monday could spell trouble. Instead, if possible, try to give yourself a gentle Monday next week. If you experience heart palpitations or other issues, cut back and consult a healthcare provider.

TRENDING: Fix Liver Congestion With This Natural Trick

Dr. Delgado-Lelievre also advises to make other small changes this week and take them into the rest of the year, like putting an end to phone-scrolling in bed and reading a book or journaling instead. “Implementing these small habits now can help you prepare for the upcoming daylight saving time change and ensure your sleep patterns are strong and more likely to remain consistent all year long,” she said. 

Share to



Like Us on Facebook?