How Daylight Saving Time can impact your health

Daylight Saving Time ended Sunday with the clocks going back one hour, but what does that do to everyone's health?

The U.S. is one of only a handful of countries that actually has Daylight Saving Time, and experts say changing our clocks twice a year isn't exactly the best thing for our health. The National Institutes of Health found 150,000 Americans experience physical health problems associated with the time change. 

Dr. Vivek Goswami, Austin-based cardiologist with St. David's Healthcare, says falling back or springing forward tends to disrupt our body's circadian rhythms, which can lead to headaches, slowed metabolism, weight gain, or worse.

"We've seen a 24% increase or uptick in heart attacks in the days to weeks following a time change," Dr. Goswami said. "I mean, there's an increase in fatal car accidents. There's an increase in stroke, there's an increase in mental health illness, including depression. There's even an increase in various immune mediated disease states, including colitis."


To help combat these effects, Dr, Goswami recommends transitioning gradually to your new bedtime over the course of a few days. Also, getting outside and getting plenty of natural light in the days following a time change can help preserve your circadian rhythm.

You will also want to avoid doing things at bedtime that can interfere with sleep like drinking caffeine or alcohol or watching TV.

Finally, exercising in the morning can help restore our biological clock.