Daylight savings time is this weekend, and while you may be looking forward to getting an extra hour of sleep, there are some drawbacks of the time shift. Your body is probably more affected by the time change than you imagine, and if you’re not careful, it can lead to spine or brain injuries. Below, we take a closer look at how this time shift can affect your health.
How Daylight Savings Time Affects Your Body
Here are just a few of the ways the time shift can be harmful to your health.
1. Work Injuries – Studies have shown that work injuries are more likely to occur on the Monday following daylight savings time compared to a standard Monday, and that’s because the time shift can throw off our circadian rhythm. When your circadian rhythm is affected, you may feel more tired, groggy or less focused, all of which can lead to injuries in the workplace. The risk is more apparent when we spring forward instead of when we fall back, but it’s still important to try and get a good night’s sleep Sunday following a time shift.
2. Car Accidents – Car accidents also are more likely after daylight savings time, especially on your drive home. The time shift will mean it’s lighter out when you go into work, but it also means it’s going to be darker during your commute home. Put the distractions down and keep your eyes on the road for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. Car accidents often cause significant brain and spine injuries, so pay extra attention to the road on your commute home on Monday.
3. Psychological Disorders – There is also evidence that mental health issues are more likely to develop after a time shift. Things like depression, anxiety and mood swings are more common after a time shift that coincides with more darkness during waking hours. A study out of Denmark found that hospitalizations for depression increased 11 percent in the weeks after the fall time shift, so if you are someone who sometimes deals with depression, try to stay ahead of any potential issues caused by the time shift.
4. Stroke Risk – One final health risk associated with the time change is that stroke risk seems to spike. One study found that stroke risk increases by 8 percent after daylight savings time. It’s even worse for people over the age of 65, as records show they are about 20 percent more likely to be hospitalized by a stroke within two days after the time shift. Again, this is due to daylight savings time throwing off our delicate circadian rhythms, so try to get a good night’s sleep in the days following the time change.
We hope you enjoy the extra hour of sleep, but if an injury occurs, don’t hesitate to reach out to Dr. Chang and his team at Minnesota Spine & Brain Institute.