Our bodies are governed by an internal clock. These circadian rhythms adjust our metabolism, make us sleepy, trigger digestive system activities (we’ll just leave it at that) and play a huge role in our secretion of hormones. When we get jet lag, we are feeling the effects of messing with your circadian rhythms. Time change is a mini-jet lag experience that most of us suffer, twice a year.
There have been several studies on the rate of car accidents on the day following time change. They found that traffic accidents increase 8% on the day following the time change. This might be a good day to take the bus?
A study, reported in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, studied this very matter. They found a 5% increase in heart attacks immediately following the spring time change compared to the previous week. Yes, a 5% increase, just because of a lost hour that doesn’t return until autumn.
Another approach that can help is to make the time change more gradual. Maybe move your clocks up by 30 minutes Friday night and 30 minutes Saturday night. Obviously, this will make you march to a different drum all day Saturday, but what is your heart worth, anyway?
So take it easy on yourself following the spring sleep hijacking. Your heart will thank you!