How Daylight Savings Time Can Spring You Forward…Into Health Problems

It’s the time of year when clocks spring forward, and with that seasonal change come some changes that can affect your health. We found some interesting information in a recent Popular Science article that sheds some light on what happens when our clocks get some extra daylight each spring. It turns out that if you’re not paying attention, you can spring forward into injury, car accidents, and even heart attacks!

Daylight savings time began, and continues, as a way to take advantage of longer hours in warmer weather. While many people enjoy having more daylight hours, especially after work, to get errands and outdoor work done, there is always a contingent which grumbles about setting the clocks forward. It turns out that the complainers may be right in that DST does have a downside. By losing sleep, people can face a whole host of unintended and unexpected consequences, according to Popular Science, like…

Car Accidents: Isn’t it enough to worry about your fellow drivers being distracted on the road, without worrying about them being half-asleep, too? It turns out that the sleep-deprived masses taking to the roads the week following DST changes bumps fatal car wrecks up ranging from 5.4-7.6. It doesn’t sound like much but they noted that over a decade that adds up to over 300 deaths.

Heart Attacks: The typical sleep disruption that happens every spring has been shown to affect heart attack rates by a significant 24 percent on the Monday after the time change, according to Popular Science. They point out that in the fall, when clocks drop back, extra sleep has a heart-protective effect – and heart attacks on that same Monday actually fall.

Injury Rates: While not as scary a percentage as the heart attack risk, workplace injuries rise after DST causes clocks to advance in the spring. The data in Popular Science shows a 5.7 percent increase the Monday after the time change in workplace injury; while the injury rate isn’t sky high, the hours of lost work are notable.

Popular Science does say that DST isn’t all gloom and doom; there’s less crime and less tv-time to point to as positives. Yet, by losing sleep there are very real health concerns including car accidents, heart health, and injuries at work. WebMd suggests practicing good “sleep hygiene,” keeping a dark bedroom, exposing yourself to light during daylight hours, and retiring/rising at the same time each day, for example. Exercising several hours before bed can be a great way to relax your body and allow your body to rest when it’s time – whatever time the clock reads.

If you sustain an injury after DST, or any other time, we want to help get you back on your feet. Body One Physical Therapy is a locally-owned practice with four locations serving central Indiana for your convenience:  North Indianapolis, South Indianapolis, Zionsville, and Fishers. Call us today and make an appointment with one of our talented and highly-trained providers.