March 2016

Health risks related to daylight saving time

Hopefully by now, many of you have remembered to set your clocks ahead one hour for daylight saving time.  Even though we hate losing that hour of sleep, most of us adjust to it fairly easily.  However, did you know that there can be serious effects to this change, especially for those with heart conditions, obesity, diabetes and other health conditions?

Researches from Finland evaluated over ten years of stroke data and determined that there was an 8% higher risk of the most common type of stroke during the first two days after the time change.  A study published in 2014 in the Open Heart journal found that there was also a higher risk of heart attacks.  While studies have shown no absolute cause and effect link, there is a definitive association between turning the clocks back and these two health emergencies.  “The circadian rhythm influences numerous bodily functions including metabolic, physiologic, and behavioral changes,” Dr. Teshamae Monteith, an assistant professor of clinical neurology and director of the headache program at the University of Miami, told CBS News. “Although confirmatory studies are needed, I believe this study supports the link between circadian rhythms and vascular events.”  Loss of sleep can also affect our ability to concentrate and lead to a diminishing of motor skills.  Workplace injuries and car accidents surge in the days following daylight saving time.

There are some things you can do before the time change to ease the transition.  If possible, starting a few days beforehand, try going to bed earlier and waking earlier, cut out caffeine after lunch, avoid napping, and expose yourself to sunlight as soon as possible upon waking.  All of these things will help your body reset its body clock.

Happy spring!

The Scotch Plains Rescue Squad is a volunteer organization of Neighbors Helping Neighbors.  With over 90 volunteers, we answer calls not only in Scotch Plains but in surrounding towns as well when needed.  Besides answering calls, you will see our ambulances at many special events held in town, such as Scotch Plains Day, the Memorial Day Parade, high school football games, and the summer concerts on the Village Green.  We are also available to provide demonstrations for Boys and Girls Scout troops, clubs, and any other group that may be interested in what we do.  In addition, we lend out wheelchairs, crutches, canes and other assorted medical equipment free of charge.  Please reach out to us if there is something we can do for you. or call (908) 322-2103 for non-emergencies.