What Effects Does The Time Change Have On People?

Time ChangeSunday, November 5, 2017 marks the end of Daylight Saving Time in Texas and unlike the transition in March when the clocks go ahead an hour (you lose an hour of sleep), in November you will gain an extra hour of sleep. Although it’s only an hour, it can have a serious disruption on your body clock (the circadian rhythm).

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Darker evenings and difficulty sleeping make some people susceptible to seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It is important to talk with a doctor if you are experiencing the symptoms of SAD, which may include fatigue, loss of interest in activities, change in appetite and/or unhappiness. Other than SAD, here are a few more ways the time change may affect some people.

Quality of Sleep

People naturally stay up late when the clocks go back, but that doesn’t always mean you are getting an extra hour of sleep, because you are staying up later and sleeping less. So, when the time changes and you lose an hour, your body has adjusted to less sleep from the previous time change, which means you may struggle with a greater decline in your sleep. For many people this additional loss of sleep can have a range of unfortunate effects, including an increase in traffic accidents and more workplace injuries.

Triggers Depression

Losing an hour of daylight in the afternoon after the time changes can trigger SAD, bipolar disorder and a variety of other mental illnesses. The symptoms of depression may include sleeping more than usual, change in appetite (eating more or less than usual), avoiding social activities and not participating in the things you previously enjoyed.

Higher Risk of Heart Attacks

There is a significant connection between sleep and heart attacks. Studies have shown that there is an increase in heart attacks by about 5 percent on three days following the time change. Although there is no definitive reason why this occurs, but it is thought that it is due to the lack of sleep and a disruption of the chronobiological rhythms. Symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Tightness, pain, pressure or an aching or squeezing feeling in your chest or arms that may spread to your jaw, neck or back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Indigestion, nausea, heartburn or abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Cold sweat
  • Sudden dizziness or lightheadedness

There are a few things you can do that may help you overcome the effects of the time change, such as expose yourself to plenty of light, exercise late and/or try light therapy.

If you feel you are having the symptoms of a heart attack call 9-1-1 immediately or have a friend or family member bring you to Surepoint Emergency Center for a comprehensive examination.