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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Whether you’re excited for the sun to be out later or upset over losing an hour of sleep, the health risks from daylight saving time remain the same. Doctors say the time change can impact sleep patterns, which can cause a variety of health issues.
Studies show disrupting sleep patterns, even if it is just an hour, can increase the risk for heart trouble.
One study that looked at the sleep regularity index, SRI, found irregular sleep patterns not only lead to trouble, but also daytime drowsiness and increase the risk for heart disease, being overweight, high blood pressure and diabetes.
A Virginia Tech Transportation Institute expert says daylight saving time can cause driver fatigue and hazardous road conditions.
“Any time change can exacerbate drowsiness because your internal clock has not adjusted to the time change. This can lead to disruptions in sleep until your body adjusts, which can take a few days to a week,” Jeff Hickman said.
Hickman offered some tips for drivers to avoid fatigue:
1. Avoid driving during rush hour and from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m.
2. Get a full night’s sleep.
3. Pay attention to signs of drowsy driving.
4. Be aware of other factors impacting drowsy driving.
Irregular sleep can also increase stress, depression and is linked to reduce physical activity and increased daytime sleepiness.
Doctors believe the findings could be related to circadian rhythms and that our bodies like regularity.