Daylight Saving Time Can Harm Your Heart and Mind: Here Are 4 Ways You Can Protect Yourself
Daylight Saving Time is in effect! You don't realize it, but your health actually improves when the clocks go back. But, there's a catch – when the clocks spring forward later on, your health could get worse. Here are a few ways to keep you protected from DST's health effects.
Good news for your heart! Ever since you've ticked your clocks back an hour for the end of Daylight Saving Time, you've enjoyed about 21 percent less risk of a heart attack. These heart-protecting effects lasts for a whole 7 days after you've switched your clocks back. In fact, researchers say this heart healthy week is the one week out of 52 that your heart attack risk is lowest.
But there's a downside – in the spring, when you advance your clocks, your heart attack risk is higher by about 24 percent. Researchers think it's all because of how these changes in schedule affect your sleep, which you shouldn't underestimate. In fact, your sleep quality controls how much weight you lose! Worse, researchers found that industrialized countries (like America), where people have poorer sleep, have a higher prevalence of diabetes and obesity. When your quality of sleep is lower, it stops over half your genes from being expressed – which is what researchers think is one cause of poor sleep lowering your metabolism.
DST-caused sleep changes can also affect your mental health. European researchers found that participants are 11 percent more likely to become depressed during the transition. Worse, researchers also found that poor sleep caused by DST increases the number of fatal car accidents.
But it's not all bad when you move the clocks forward in the spring! Crime rates (specifically robbery) drop by almost 30 percent the whole day you jump ahead an hour.
Considering all this, it's best to protect yourself from DST's health-changing effects. Better to be safe than sorry, right? Here's what you can do to protect yourself:
Take SAMe and vitamin D supplements. To prevent depression caused by any possible loss of sunlight because you're not waking up earlier, you can take SAMe and vitamin D, which have been proven to help prevent depression. These supplements are also great for your bone and heart health, which means they'll also protect you from DST's detrimental affects on your heart.
Change your mattress. Changing your mattress for a better one can help you lose weight by lowering your stress. It also improves your sleep quality. Even if your sleep quality takes a toll during the time transition, improving your sleep quality with a new mattress can help offset these effects. Choose an eco-friendly mattress, like Zen Haven's natural latex mattress, because they'll have less cancer-causing impurities since they're made from natural materials rather than industrial supplies.
Eat chili peppers. You've probably heard that eating spicy food is good for your heart, but is it true? Researchers think that capsaicin from chili peppers can help treat circulatory problems, like irregular heart rhythms. Some evidence even shows that rubbing capsaicin cream on someone who's suffering from a heart attack can help increase survival and decrease heart damage from the heart attack. So if you eat chili peppers the day before Daylight Saving Time kicks in, you help protect your heart. Alternatively, you can rub capsaicin cream when you wake up and help prevent the new time change from hurting your heart. The good news is, eating chili peppers also boosts your metabolism by making your body burn more brown fat (and consequently, makes you feel hot from the increase in your body temperature). It also helps you lose weight by suppressing your appetite and stopping your body from storing fat. It's a win-win: eating chili peppers protects your heart and slims your waistline!
Intermittently fast the day before you switch your clocks. Researchers found that intermittent fasting (when you skip meals or eat during specific time periods), actually improves your cardiovascular health. It's been found to improve blood pressure and heart rate in animals, and even boost your chances of survival in the event of certain types of heart attacks. Researchers also found that intermittent fasting's calorie restriction has antidepressant effects – so it helps protect against and helps treat depression too! If you do intermittent fasting the day before Daylight Saving Time, you'll be protecting your heart and mind from DST's effects. As a bonus, intermittent fasting has also been found to make you live longer, prevents diabetes – and of course, help you lose weight.
When you move your clocks, you're also affecting your health. Do these four things and you'll help immunize yourself from Daylight Saving Time's detrimental effects.