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How daylight saving time can affect your body

Posted at 11:03 PM, Mar 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-16 08:43:46-04

TULSA, Okla. — The days after daylight saving time have many reaching for the extra cup of coffee.

Dr. Rachel Franklin, medical director at OU Health Physicians Family Medicine, said our bodies are programmed to keep time in relation to light and dark cycles.

“A sudden disconnect between our day and night cycle and the clock can cause actual harm," she said.

Franklin said losing that hour of sleep can damage our bodies in several ways. She said it can increase stress hormones, irritability, depression and poor school or work performance. She also said the damage can accumulate over time.

“We now have evidence that stroke risk increases about eight percent each time the clock changes for about two days," Franklin said.

Many prefer daylight saving time for the extra sunlight. Senator James Lankford and Senator Jim Inhofe are now hoping to make it permanent with a new bill. Inhofe said doing so will encourage recreation, benefit mental health and support the economy.

But, Dr. Franklin said, research shows the standard time when we set our clocks back from November through March is better overall.

“If we’re talking about nationwide, what’s best for the east coast and the west coast, doctors believe that standard time would be best for the health of all individuals," Franklin said.

As it takes a few days to adjust to the change, Dr. Franklin said to be patient with each other.

“If you are finding yourself or your family irritable, anxious, not really connected intellectually this week, give yourself a little grace, give your kids some grace, they’re suffering through it too," she said.

To help yourself get used to the change, Dr. Franklin suggests waking up at the same time seven days in a row and avoiding caffeine and alcohol late in the day.

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