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'Springing forward' for daylight saving time may impact heart health

Spring Forward
Posted at 5:30 PM, Mar 08, 2023

Did you know daylight saving time can also impact your health?

This weekend, Americans will be moving their clocks an hour forward, except for Hawaii and Arizona.

“So Monday, there's an increase in presentation for heart attacks. That’s been consistent across all studies that have looked at this,” said Dr. Robert Salazar, an interventional cardiologist at the Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston, Texas.

One study presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session found a 24 percent increase in heart attacks the Monday after daylight saving time started.

Heart rhythm disorders and stroke also tend to increase.

One of the main factors of this is sleep.

“People end up losing an hour of sleep. They often didn't anticipate it or plan for it. They get less non-REM sleep,” Dr. Salazar said.

During non-REM sleep, heart rate goes down, blood pressure comes down, and the body relaxes. Dr. Salazar said when people miss out on that extra hour it can have a big impact on blood pressure, stress, and heart rate.

As you plan to spring forward, there are some preventative steps you can take.

“The big thing is having a consistent sleep schedule,” Dr. Salazar said. He explained that focusing on your sleep quality leads to better cardiovascular health and mental health as well.

“You want to have a cool room, it should be dark, it should be quiet. Screens and electronics should be kept out of the bedroom,” he said.

Experts also recommend eating well and avoiding caffeine and alcohol late in the day.

“The other thing is to make sure you're getting plenty of exercise to the extent that you're able to,” he said.