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If you tend to feel off kilter or more off kilter than usual when the clock is set ahead for daylight savings time (DST), you are not alone.
Many people feel the effects of this time-tweaking since it is hard on our health.
A research study done in 2012 showed that heart attacks rose by ten percent on the Monday and Tuesday after the DST change. In the fall, when clocks were set back, heart attacks dropped by ten percent.
“Individuals who are sleep-deprived weigh more and are at an increased risk of developing diabetes or heart disease. Sleep deprivation also can alter other body processes, including inflammatory response, which can contribute to a heart attack,” said the DST study’s author, Martin Young, Ph.D.
Many of us experience the DST transition with some mental and emotional distress. We may feel out of sorts, irritable and fuzzy-headed. This can impact performance, productivity, relationships and sometimes lead to accidents and injury.
People with anxiety or depression who are already experiencing sleep problems, difficulty focusing and irritability might notice an intensification of these symptoms. Besides the increase of physical illness and injury with DST, research shows an upswing in the incidence of suicide.
If you notice an increase in serious symptoms after the time change, such as thoughts of self-harm or suicide, call your doctor and seek support from family and friends. If necessary, go the an emergency room, or call 911.
To reduce the impact of DST on your mental and physical health, Dr. Young recommends four ways to naturally help yourself adjust:
You can also reduce the impact of DST by eating nutritious whole foods and using whatever relaxation techniques work for you. Take time to enjoy your personal interests and leisure pursuits. Sometimes doing nothing is doing something good for our self.
Photo credit: Kayla Kandzorra / flickr creative commones
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