This years' daylight saving time arrives at 2:00 am on Sunday, but you may want to set your clocks earlier.
A report out of Finland says the chances of a stroke increases by 8% in the first two days following daylight saving time.
The findings fit what Swedish researchers saw tracking similar data.
“It’s hard to say,” says Dr Denis Fortier, CMO and Vice President of Medical Services at Southern Health in regards to the Scandinavian studies. “We are aware of it and wonder when people come in during the days and weeks following time change.”
Dr Fortier says despite the difference in data, the body’s circadian rhythm is affected by the change. “If you mess up the circadian rhythm, you mess up the normal cycle of hormones,” explains Fortier, “it just makes perfect sense that it would affect our health in one way or another.”
Fortier still sees the change as mild, certainly in comparison to a passenger crossing multiple time zones on a transatlantic flight. “Time change takes about one, maybe two days to adjust for daylight saving time, if you’re flying cross-Atlantic, it might take you a week to adjust.”
That doesn’t mean some are not significantly affected, or that the need for precaution isn’t always prudent. “If you’re sensitive to it, ill, or have a chronic disease, you’re going to be affected much more than someone who is quite healthy,” says Fortier before also noting those asked to remain alert for their occupation.
“People who run heavy equipment or physicians,” he specifies, “we usually ask them to pay certain attention to getting a good night’s sleep.”
For those that feel they may have fallen out of sync, Dr Fortier makes a recommendation; “I’ll often adjust my clocks at 9:00 pm on Saturday. I don’t wait until 2 am because that doesn’t help me very much.”
In the end, Fortier feels the best plan to mitigate time change malaise is to simply be prepared. “Know it’s happening, plan for it, and adjust for it.”