MAR 17, 2023 9:15 AM PDT

Increased Risk of Heart Attacks Associated with Daylight Saving Time

WRITTEN BY: Kerry Charron

Have friends and family grumbled about the impact of the recent springtime change on their clarity and well-being? Daylight Saving Time Sleep means sleep deficits and related health risks, and many sleep experts advocate abolishing the annual spring daylight saving time change. A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found a significant increase in heart attacks and strokes in the days after the time change each spring. 

The research team examined cross‐sectional associations of actigraphy‐assessed sleep duration and sleep timing regularity with subclinical atherosclerosis in the community‐based MESA (Multi‐Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) to determine the impact of the springtime change on participants. 

The study examined cross‐sectional associations of sleep duration and sleep timing regularity with subclinical atherosclerosis in the community‐based MESA (Multi‐Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis). The 2,032 participants engaged in a 7‐day wrist actigraphy that involved assessments of coronary artery calcium, carotid plaque presence, carotid intima‐media thickness, and the ankle‐brachial index. The findings demonstrated that participants with greater sleep duration irregularity were more likely to have high coronary artery calcium burden and abnormal ankle‐brachial index than participants with more regular sleep durations. 

Sleep quality and quantity are critical to maintaining cardiovascular health and overall health. Lack of sleep increases the risk of depression, cognitive decline, and obesity. Heart attacks increase by 24% on the Monday following the time switch. The study found that inconsistent sleep routines and variations in bedtime were linked to atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries.

The American Heart Association promotes Life’s Essential 8: eating a healthy diet, not smoking or vaping, being physically active and getting adequate sleep, along with controlling your blood pressure and maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol and lipids, healthy blood sugar levels, and a healthy weight.

The American Heart Association recommends additional strategies to prevent heart disease:

  • Get proper nutrition, engage in regular physical exercise, and reduce stress.
  • Keep a consistent sleep schedule as much as possible. 
  • Maintain relaxing bedtime habits such as de-stressing, unwinding, or listening to music. 
  • Limit or eliminate nighttime technology use. 

The AHA recommends many other strategies, such as meditation, reading, and doing gentle yoga stretches if you are having difficulty falling asleep. 

Sources:  American Heart Association, Eureka News Alert, Journal of the American Heart Association 


About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Kerry Charron writes about medical cannabis research. She has experience working in a Florida cultivation center and has participated in advocacy efforts for medical cannabis.
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