611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

member support line
M-F 5pm-8pm
24/7 weekends/holidays

AzCH Nurse Assist Line


611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

AzCH Nurse Assist Line


powered by centersite dot net
Wellness and Personal Development
Basic InformationLatest News
Even a Little Light in Your Bedroom Could Harm HealthWant Respect at Work? Ditch the EmojisAs Clocks Spring Forward, Keep Sleep on TrackSleep Experts Call for End to Twice-a-Year Time ChangesHigh Anxiety: Poll Finds Americans Stressed by Inflation, WarYour Houseplants May Help You Breathe EasierAHA News: Ready to 'Spring Forward'? Ease Into the Time Change With These 9 Health TipsSome Americans Gained Better Habits During Pandemic, Poll FindsStressed Out by Ukraine News? Experts Offer Coping TipsBegin Now to Protect Your Heart as Clocks 'Spring Forward'AHA News: Break Up Binge-Watching by Taking a StandApps: They Help Manage Health Conditions, But Few Use Them, Poll FindsLifestyle Factors Key to Keeping Good Vision With AgeExercise Helps You Sleep, But Which Workout Is Best?Fitbit Recalls Over 1 Million Smartwatches Due to Burn HazardAHA News: Understanding 'Black Fatigue' – And How to Overcome ItPandemic Didn't Dent Americans' Optimism, Polls FindHuman Brain Doesn't Slow Down Until After 60AHA News: Does Kindness Equal Happiness and Health?Apps Can Help Keep Older Folks Healthy — But Most Don't Use ThemAHA News: Want a Healthier Valentine's Day? More Hugs and KissesStudy Hints That Cutting Daily Calories Could Extend Healthy Life SpanHow Healthy Is Your State? New Federal Data Ranks EachMidwinter Blues Could Be SAD: An Expert Guide to TreatmentsSpice Up Your Meal to Avoid More SaltSearching for Good Sleep? Here's What You're Doing Right - and WrongPandemic Worsening Americans' Already Terrible Sleep, Poll Finds​AHA News: Fine-Tune Your Health With These 5 Music IdeasMelatonin's Popularity Rises, Along With Hidden DangersAHA News: Healthy Living Could Offset Genetics and Add Years Free of Heart DiseaseCould Everyday Plastics Help Make You Fat?Take These Winter Workout Tips to HeartStay Safe When Winter Storms Cut Your PowerAHA News: Sound the Fiber Alarm! Most of Us Need More of It in Our DietExtra 10 Minutes of Daily Activity Could Save 110,000 U.S. Lives AnnuallyWinter Blues? It Could Be SADOrdering Groceries Online? Good Luck Finding Nutrition InfoBinge-Watching Could Raise Your Blood Clot RiskDon't Snow Shovel Your Way to a Heart AttackCelebrities' Social Media Promotes Junk Food, Often for FreeWill Reading Books Make You Any Happier?Zoom Meeting Anxiety Doesn't Strike EveryoneDid Adding Calorie Counts to Restaurant Menus Make Meals Healthier?AHA News: Here's to a Fresh Start With Whatever You Do in '22Do You Have 'COVID-somnia'? These Sleep Tips Might HelpMake 2022 Your Year for a Free Memory ScreeningNew Year's Resolution? Here's How to Make it Stick12 Steps to the Best Holiday Gift: HealthAmericans Turning to Trendy Diets to Shed Pandemic PoundsAHA News: Can the Cold Really Make You Sick?
LinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Anger Management
Stress Reduction and Management

AHA News: Ready to 'Spring Forward'? Ease Into the Time Change With These 9 Health Tips

HealthDay News
Updated: Mar 9th 2022

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, March 9, 2022 (American Heart Association News) -- If you struggle with the switch to daylight saving time, you might feel enlightened to learn it's not just in your head. It involves an interplay between the clock, sunshine and your body at a cellular level.

Planning ahead to shift clocks forward one hour, which happens this year on March 13, could ease the transition, say sleep experts, who see the time change as a serious health threat.

"We all lose an hour of sleep from time to time," said Dr. Beth Malow, director of the sleep division at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. But daylight saving time is more than that.

For starters, "it's not just that one hour," Malow said. It can lead to more.

High school students, for example, lost an average of 32 minutes of sleep on weeknights following the shift, for a net loss of 2 hours, 42 minutes that week, according to a small 2015 study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, effects of the time change might last for months. Some of those effects appear serious.

"People are more prone to having some types of cardiovascular events because of the change in time," said Girardin Jean-Louis, director of the Center on Translational Sleep and Circadian Sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida. Research shows the risks of having a heart attack, stroke and episodes of an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation can increase after the time change.

The shift to daylight saving time differs from the jet lag that accompanies travel because of our biology, Malow said.

Many of our organs have internal clocks, she said. A key signal for those body clocks, or circadian rhythms, is light. If you travel from Chicago to New York, you lose an hour, but a shift in the light cycle accompanies the change. When it's time to spring forward, you don't get that cue.

Younger, healthier people may adjust more quickly, Jean-Louis said. But for older people, or those with medical conditions that affect their sleep, "it's a much, much harder task to try to get back to schedule."

Although some defend daylight saving time for economic and other reasons, Jean-Louis and Malow, like the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, said a fixed year-round time would be the healthiest approach. But, as Jean-Louis said, "that's not going to happen anytime soon."

So, they offered this advice:

  • Take sleep seriously. Most adults need at least seven hours a night, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Older and younger people may need more. Yet a third of U.S. adults are sleep-deprived, CDC data show. The shift to daylight saving time can exacerbate that, Malow said.
  • Make a gradual shift. Most people don't adjust until the day of the change, Jean-Louis said. But if you start a few days ahead, shifting bedtime by 20 minutes a day, "it's easier for you to get accustomed to the new clock."
  • Don't sleep in on Sunday. It's tempting, Malow acknowledged. "But really try to get up at your usual time and get exposed to light, because that bright light in the morning will help you wake up, and it will also help you fall asleep easier at night."
  • See the light. Jean-Louis also emphasizes light exposure in the morning. "You could wake up one hour early and take a walk facing east so that you have exposure to the sun as it rises." Again, starting a few days ahead of time is important, he said.
  • Coffee? OK, but be careful. Malow and Jean-Louis are coffee drinkers. And both say it's great for keeping you alert in the morning. But only drink it early in the day. "If you're having coffee at about 3, 4 or 5 p.m., that's just not good," Jean-Louis said, "because it can trigger a cascade of dysregulated sleep cycles, which influence your ability to get a good night's sleep."
  • Don't use alcohol to help you fall asleep earlier. "That can actually interrupt your sleep in the middle of the night," Malow said.
  • Limit screens. The blue light from screens is "kind of like being exposed to sunlight late at night," Malow said. So limit time looking at them, especially at bedtime. "Try reading a book or do something that doesn't involve that light. If you absolutely have to be on your computer or phone, use settings that help cut down on the light."
  • Help the kids. Parents of small children know that time changes can be rough. But most of the advice for adults also works for kids, Malow said. "Try to get them to bed a little earlier the few days leading up to it," she said. And "pay attention to getting them out in the bright light as much as you can once we make the change so they can acclimate."
  • Address persistent problems. If someone has a regular problem falling or staying asleep, or if they have signs of sleep apnea such as snoring or excessive sleepiness, "they really should get it checked out" by a doctor, Malow said. Sleep is important not only for feeling good, "but it can make a tremendous difference on our health, including our heart health."

American Heart Association News covers heart and brain health. Not all views expressed in this story reflect the official position of the American Heart Association. Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association, Inc., and all rights are reserved. If you have questions or comments about this story, please email editor@heart.org.

By Michael Merschel