You might feel a little extra groggy this morning. Your alarm’s going to be ringing at 7 am, but as far as your body knows, it’s still an hour earlier.
The joys of daylight savings time.
But aside from the grogginess and general confusion resulting from hitting the fast-forward button on time, some real dangers could put you at risk.
Data suggest the Monday following the beginning of daylight savings time is dangerous. It’s the riskiest day for car accidents, for one. But it’s also a risk factor for people with heart conditions.
One study from 2014 showed that the loss of an hour of sleep could boost heart attack risk by 24 percent. It may also boost stroke risk. Contrast that with the trends from when we gain an hour of sleep in October, where heart attack risk goes down more than 20 percent.
So, how can you reduce the risk to your heart and make a safe adjustment into daylight savings time? The first is to practice a heart-healthy lifestyle year-round. Eat plenty of whole, plant-based foods and limit your intake of processed foods.
Doing so can help relax veins, open them up, and allow for better blood flow.
Try to get as much light as possible when you wake up. Open the blinds, sit by the window, and expose yourself to light. It might be the best way to show your body it’s in for a change. Getting the adjustment underway as quickly as possible is recommended.
Avoid napping and extra caffeine. If you do either – sleep or try to stay awake – you may be extending your circadian rhythm’s adjustment period. Fight through the first couple of days, so your body regulates as fast as possible.
Throwing a wrench into your circadian rhythm is never a good thing. Daylight savings time does just that, forcing an unavoidable jet lag upon you once per year. Be aware of the risks and plan accordingly so you can get back on track.