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How daylight saving time can impact your heart

Posted at 6:11 AM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 13:36:32-05

TULSA, Okla. — This weekend is daylight saving time when our clocks "spring forward" one hour. Losing that hour of sleep isn't the only impact on your body, it can also hurt your heart.

2 News spoke with a cardiologist and they say there are some things you can do to help ease the toll it takes on your body.

Daylight saving time is intended to extend natural light, but for many, it can wreak havoc on the body.

“Adjust your bedtime. Not only your bedtime but when you wake up in the morning to make sure that you're getting full sun first thing in the morning. That’s been shown in these small studies to kind of help people acclimate better," says Dr. John Vann, a cardiologist at St. Francis.

Vann says studies have shown an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes within a week following the transition of daylight saving time, which he says is mainly driven by circadian rhythm stress.

That circadian rhythm tells us when it's daytime and nighttime. Vann says this biological clock is mainly driven by the sun. But when we "spring forward," that internal clock and our sleep are disrupted.

“When we jump and make this big transition, an hour, the difference is it causes a slight delay at the beginning that leads to sleepiness, difficulty going to sleep at night, kind of those sorts of things," Vann explains.

The American Heart Association recommends adults get at least seven hours of sleep. Vann says not only does this help cognitive function, but it also resets your circadian clock without having to rely on stimulants, like caffeine or alcohol.

As for children, Vann recommends getting them to bed early and easing them into the transition. He also recommends getting up early now to help your body better adjust next week.

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