Springing Forward Can Set Your Health Back, Studies Find

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It is Daylight Saving Time, and changing our clocks may have a negative impact on our health.

“The human body, like all living organisms, is made up of thousands of different rhythms and oscillations,” explains Dr. Donald McEachron, professor at Drexel University’s School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems. “You can think about the human body being like an orchestra with lots of different instruments.”

And when we “spring forward?”

“It’s a little bit like somebody taking a page away from the conductor,” he said. “And he’s conducting, she’s conducting, a different piece of music and, of course, all the musicians get confused. The music sort of breaks down for a while.”

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McEachron said, if you’re feeling a bit out of it during the next few days there’s a good reason for it.

“[Daylight Saving Time] shifts the biological clock. It takes time for the clock to readjust. Your body is somewhat desynchronized. Your performance goes down. Your ability to process information goes down.”

[graphiq id=”bBUDKtnmI9D” title=”Daylight saving time” width=”600″ height=”450″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/bBUDKtnmI9D” link_text=”Graphiq” ]

McEachron said a study out of the University of Colorado-Boulder, that examined car accidents over a 10-year period, linked 302 fatalities to daylight saving time. He also said the annual loss of an hour in the day can also lead to serious health issues popping up.

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One study found between 10 percent and 25 percent increase in the risk for heart attack.”

An American Academy of Neurology study also found that the risk for stroke is 8% higher in the two days after springing forward.

Dr. McEachron’s advice?

“Be much more careful when you’re driving. For the next two or three days pay more attention to your health and your performance. Just be careful,” he said. “That one hour shift has more impact than you know.”

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