Falling Back: How to Stay Cheerful, Alert Losing a daylight hour - The Missourian: News

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Falling Back: How to Stay Cheerful, Alert Losing a daylight hour

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Posted: Friday, November 2, 2012 8:25 am | Updated: 3:23 pm, Fri Nov 9, 2012.

(CBC) The daylight savings time switch this weekend is cause for celebration. With clocks turning back an hour at 2:00 a.m. on Nov. 3, how could the extra snooze time on a Sunday morning be anything other than a bonus?

But seasonal time changes always come with a trade-off.

Academic research shows that losing an hour of daylight can be linked to negative effects on both the mind and body, including disturbed sleep patterns, seasonal depression and obesity.

Both the amount and quality of sleep have been shown to be important for mental and physical health, says Dr. Phyllis Zee, director of Northwestern Memorial Hospital's Sleep Disorders Center in Illinois. "Disturbed sleep is associated with depression, memory and learning impairments, cardiovascular and metabolic disease risk factors (diabetes and heart disease), obesity, and impaired ability to fight infections."

Even when clocks change backwards or forwards by just an hour, circadian misalignment - the difference between the timing of a person's natural internal clock and their required work or sleep/wake schedule - can occur, which Zee says "has been shown to increase risk for mood disorders, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and breast cancer."

Daylight savings time can even result in a great risker of heart attack - but only in the spring, according to Dr Martin Young, from the Division of Cardiovascular Disease at University of Alabama.

"The Monday and Tuesday after moving the clocks ahead one hour in March is associated with a 10 percent increase in the risk of having a heart attack," he says. "The opposite is true when falling back [in the autumn]. This risk decreases by about 10 percent."

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