Daylight Saving Time Health Risks

Good morning? Let's all join in a collective yawn. Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 11. Get ready to spring, or stumble, ahead.

Yahoo! Health: Timeline for Better Sleep

Monday morning risks can be more serious than needing to nap at your desk: researchers at Loyola University School of Medicine report that there are more workplace injuries and traffic accidents the day after we turn our clocks ahead. Heart attack rates increase by as much as 10%. The time change is hardest on those who are chronically sleep deprived: the National Sleep Foundation estimates that more than one-third of Americans are dangerously sleepy.

While most people will adjust to the time change in a couple of days, night owls and those who habitually grab fewer than seven hours of sleep a night can take a full week to catch up.

Here are some tips to help reset your internal clock and survive your first couple of days back at work or school:

  • Start going to bed 15 minutes earlier a couple of nights before the time change.
  • Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier on Saturday and Sunday morning you are used to getting up earlier on Monday.
  • Go outside early Saturday and Sunday morning.
  • If you don't have a pre-existing health condition, exercise outdoors, but not after 4 p.m. which can disrupt sleep later.
  • Refrain from napping over the weekend.
  • Avoid alcohol on Sunday night. While it might knock you out, alcohol disrupts sleep patterns.
  • Eat a healthy, substantial breakfast Monday morning to provide you with energy to get through the day.

Children need help adjusting to the time change as well. Jennifer Chambers, MD, of the University of Alabama suggests serving dinner 30 minutes earlier to help reset their schedule. She also recommends against letting kids sleep late Sunday morning, the first day of the time change. More of her tips for children can be found here.

How to reset your internal clock

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