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How daylight saving time can impact your health and what you can do to prepare

Why do we have daylight saving time?
Posted at 4:41 PM, Mar 07, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-07 17:56:19-05

(WXYZ) — Get ready to spring forward this weekend as daylight saving time returns, causing us to lose an hour of sleep.

Despite the seemingly small impact, this shift can disrupt our sleep patterns and impact our health.

It’s nice to have longer daylight hours in the evening, especially as the weather warms up. But that one-hour time change can really disrupt our routines. And if you’re a parent with kids who are already hard to get out of bed in the morning, well, the time change can make getting them up even more challenging.

But how can it affect our health? For some, it’s more than feeling tired, grouchy and less mentally alert. Losing an hour of sleep can trigger flu-like symptoms, including body aches and pains.

The time transition has also been linked to an increased risk of mood disturbances, hospital admissions and motor vehicle accidents. According to a 2020 study, there’s a 6% rise in the risk of fatal traffic accidents during the spring transition.

Also, daylight saving time has been linked to an increase in heart attacks the Monday after the clocks move forward. Having said that, a new study analyzing data from 36 million adults over five years found that while there was a slight increase in heart-related events, it was not large enough to be clinically significant.

Regarding how long the clock change can affect us, it may take some time — possibly up to a week — for our bodies to fully adjust.

To ease into daylight saving time, here’s what I recommend:

  • Transition slowly. Start by adjusting your sleep hours by heading to bed slightly earlier than usual.
  • Try waking up sooner. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier each morning – a little at a time can help your body to adapt more easily.
  • Get enough sleep. Ensure you're well-rested before the time change, aiming for 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
  • Seek out daylight. Head outside for early morning sunlight as it helps reset your body's internal clock.
  • Be sure to exercise. Being physically active can help you sleep better - but do avoid exercising too close to bedtime if you struggle with sleep.
  • Lastly, drive safely. Be extra careful, particularly in the mornings, while you’re adjusting to the time change.

While a one-hour time change might seem minor, adapting can take time. Most people adjust, but if sleep issues persist, consider consulting a sleep specialist.


Hot flashes, night sweats — those are two symptoms women around the world recognize as signs of menopause. While it’s an inevitable part of life, it affects women differently. And for those who are struggling and looking for solutions, this is the show for you. Dr. Partha Nandi, MD, speaks with a woman who’s struggled with severe menopause symptoms since age 30 and feels like she's stuck inside an 82-year-old body. Also, a medical doctor shares common patient complaints and offers potential treatments. Plus, a naturopathic doctor discusses a holistic approach to symptoms, and an acupuncturist walks us through a live demonstration and shares how this alternative therapy may alleviate symptoms. Tune in this Mon., March 11, at 2:30 a.m.

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