Daylight Savings: `Falling back` comes with health risks - New York News

Daylight Savings: `Falling back` comes with health risks

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

This weekend it's time to fall back with our clocks and get an extra hour of sleep! We all love that right? But getting your body's rhythm back on track can spell trouble when it comes to our health.

The end of daylight saving also means a disruption to your sleep patterns and that is bad for your health, according to Dr. Jay Balachandran at the University of Chicago's Sleep Fellowship Program.

"Even subtle changes in how we sleep to the effect that they result in a little bit of sleep loss can have important effects on our health," Dr. Balachandran explains.

In fact, an extra hour of sleep is not always an extra hour.

"We actually now know, that on average, people sleep about 30-40 minutes less each night after the shift for almost a week out," he continues.

Last year, two separate studies by the American Journal of Cardiology and the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that shifting the clock by one hour can increase the chance of a heart attack.

"There does seem to be a very slightly increased risk of things like heart attacks in the first day or two after daylight savings change," says Dr. Balachandran.

Dr. Balachandran says these health issues seem to arise because daylight saving time changes the body's circadian rhythm or the body's internal clock.

And for some people the time change can trigger migraines or cluster headaches which are painful headaches in one side of the head.

Poor sleep can also lead to obesity, diabetes, and a weakened immune system.

So, for people like Donna McCullough who take at least a week to adjust to the new time, the doctor has this advice:

"Giving themselves about a week ahead of the time change to advance their bed time about 10-15 minutes each day and wake up 10-15 minutes each day earlier."

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