No one looks forward to turning their clocks ahead an hour, but that’s exactly what daylight savings time requires you to do. Losing an hour of sleep does more than just make you grumpy. One study showed that the three work days following daylight savings time significantly increases the risk of having a heart attack. On the other hand, the danger of having a heart attack decreases the week after we gain an hour of sleep. It’s hard to believe that one hour of sleep can have such a profound effect on your health!
Daylight savings time doesn’t only take away an hour of your precious sleep. It also asks you to drive to work in the morning while it is dark. If it’s dark, your brain could still be producing melatonin to make you sleepy. When you’re tired, you’re less likely to be as responsive to other drivers on the road. Research shows that tired drivers account for almost 17 percent of deadly car accidents and 25 percent of car accident deaths due to low lighting.
Luckily, there are things you can do to ease yourself into the transition. Start by going to bed 15 minutes earlier four days before daylight savings time. This will help you adjust to the hour of sleep you are going to lose. Take it easy on the caffeine and alcohol until after your body is adjusted to your new sleep schedule as these are stimulants that can keep you awake. Here are some other tips for surviving the time change based on an hour by hour plan.