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Entries in Daylight Saving Time (6)

Wednesday
Nov072012

Life Is SAD This Time of Year

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Feeling a little let down after Election Day?

It might not have anything to do with the outcome of the election or Hurricane Sandy.  You might simply be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, otherwise appropriately known as SAD.

Dr. Mike McKee of the Cleveland Clinic says SAD is a real condition brought on this time of year by less sunlight and more dark.

That tends to make some people more depressed, but McKee has ways of lessening the blues.  It includes getting up and about, going outside and doing things in spite of how lousy you might feel.

One other important tip: keep off the booze.  That temporary respite you get from alcohol will just make things worse.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Mar112012

Daylight Saving Time Increases Heart-Attack Risk, Health Experts Find

Erik Snyder/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Daylight saving time not only affects sleep habits, but it could also have an impact on your heart, according to health experts.

HealthDay reports that heart-attack risk increases after daylight saving time that occurred early Sunday morning.

The Monday and Tuesday after moving the clocks ahead “is associated with a 10 percent increase in the risk of having a heart attack," Martin Young, an associate professor in the cardiovascular disease division at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said in a university news release. "The opposite is true when falling back in October. This risk decreases by about 10 percent."

The risk peaks on Monday, when most people wake up an hour earlier for work, Young said.

"Exactly why this happens is not known but there are several theories," Young said. "Sleep deprivation, the body's circadian clock and immune responses all can come into play when considering reasons that changing the time by an hour can be detrimental to someone's health."

While the recently released study found an association between sleep loss and heart-attack risk, it failed to provide a cause-and-effect relationship.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar092012

Daylight Saving Time: Tips on How to Trick Your Body Clock

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It's time to roll the clocks forward into daylight saving time, the bittersweet deed that simultaneously signals spring and wreaks havoc on sleep.

For most people, the missing hour on Sunday means a sleepy Monday.  But for some -- particularly those who aren't big on mornings to begin with -- it takes a heavy toll on mood and productivity, earning blame for car accidents, workplace injuries and stock market dips.

"It's an interesting paradox, because traveling one time zone east or west is very easy for anyone to adapt to," said Dr. Alfred Lewy, director of Oregon Health and Science University's Sleep and Mood Disorders Laboratory in Portland.  "But in daylight saving time, the new light-dark cycle is perversely working against the body clock. We're getting less sunlight in morning and more in the evening."

The body clock is a cluster of neurons deep inside the brain that generates the circadian rhythm, also known as the sleep-wake cycle.  The cycle spans roughly 24 hours, but it's not precise.

"It needs a signal every day to reset it," said Lewy.

The signal is sunlight, which shines in through the eyes and "corrects the cycle from approximately 24 hours to precisely 24 hours," said Lewy.  But when the sleep-wake and light-dark cycles don't line up, people can feel out of sync, tired and grumpy.

With time, the body clock adjusts on its own.  But here are a few ways to help it along:

Soak Up the Morning Light -- Getting some early morning sun Saturday and Sunday can help the brain's sleep-wake cycle line up with the new light-dark cycle.  But it means getting up at dawn.  Sleeping by a window won't cut it, Lewy said.  The sunlight needs to be direct.

Avoid Evening Light -- Resisting the urge to linger in the late sunlight Sunday and Monday also can help the body clock adjust, Lewy said.

Try a Lose Dose of Melatonin -- While light synchronizes the body clock in the morning, the hormone melatonin updates it at night.  The exact function of the hormone, produced by the pea-size pineal gland in the middle of the brain, is unclear.  But it can activate melatonin receptors on the neurons of the body clock, acting as a "chemical signal for darkness," Lewy said.

Taking a low-dose (less than 0.3 mg) of melatonin late in the afternoon Friday through Monday can help sync the sleep-wake and light-dark cycles.  But be careful: Although melatonin is sold as a dietary supplement, it can cause drowsiness and interfere with other drugs.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov042011

Daylight Saving Time Ends This Weekend: Good for You!

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Daylight saving time finally ends this Sunday at 2 a.m. -- remember to set your clocks back one hour when you go to bed Saturday night -- and for many of Americans, that could be a downer.  The day seems to fly by, and it's gets dark outside before most can start thinking about dinner.

But many doctors say the return to standard time -- and the extra hour of sleep you get in the morning -- can be healthy.

"Generally, it is always easier to stay up an hour later than to go to sleep an hour earlier, so most people have relatively little problem setting the clocks back in the fall," said Dr. Steven Feinsilver, director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, in an email.  "This is because our basic circadian rhythm (the 'body clock') actually seems to be programmed for a longer than 24 hour day.  It runs a little slow."

"The circadian clock does not change to the social change," said chronobiology researcher Till Roenneberg of Ludwig Maximilans University in Munich, Germany.  "During the winter, there is a beautiful tracking of dawn in human sleep behavior, which is completely and immediately interrupted when daylight saving time is introduced in March."

Roenneberg, the lead researcher for a study of the effects of time shifts, said that humans' biological clocks are stronger than the clocks set by Congress.

"When you change clocks to daylight saving time, you don't change anything related to sun time," Roenneberg said.  "This is one of those human arrogances, that we can do whatever we want as long as we are disciplined.  We forget that there is a biological clock that is as old as living organisms, a clock that cannot be fooled. The pure social change of time cannot fool the clock."

Though individuals may see their biological clocks reset, and will get an "extra hour" of sleep or rest over the weekend, researchers say that the stress caused by time changes can be bad for the body.

Researchers in Sweden published a report in 2008 in the New England Journal of Medicine stating that the number of heart attacks jumps during the period immediately following time changes, and that those vulnerable to sleep deprivation should be extra careful.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct212011

End of Daylight Saving Time Can Have Mental, Physical Effects

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(MUNICH, Germany) -- The end of Daylight Saving Time -- scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 6 this year -- may make people groan and complain as the sun begins to set earlier and late afternoons grow dark, but researchers say that the return to natural rhythms can be healthy.

"The circadian clock does not change to the social change," said chronobiology researcher Till Roenneberg of Ludwig Maximilans University in Munich, Germany.  "During the winter, there is a beautiful tracking of dawn in human sleep behavior, which is completely and immediately interrupted when Daylight Saving Time is introduced in March."

Roenneberg, lead researcher for a study of the effects of time shifts, said that humans' biological clocks are stronger than the clocks set by Congress.

"When you change clocks to Daylight Saving Time, you don't change anything related to sun time," Roenneberg said.  "This is one of those human arrogances -- that we can do whatever we want as long as we are disciplined.  We forget that there is a biological clock that is as old as living organisms, a clock that cannot be fooled.  The pure social change of time cannot fool the clock."

Though individuals may see their biological clocks reset, and will get an "extra hour" of sleep or rest over the weekend, researchers say that the stress caused by time changes can be bad for the body.

Researchers in Sweden published a report in 2008 in the New England Journal of Medicine reporting that the number of heart attacks jumps during the period immediately following time changes, and that those vulnerable to sleep deprivation should be extra careful.

"More than 1.5 billion men and women are exposed to the transitions involved in Daylight Saving Time: turning clocks forward by an hour in the spring and backward by an hour in the autumn," wrote Imre Janszky and Rickard Ljung, health and welfare researchers in Sweden.  "These transitions can disrupt chronobiologic rhythms and influence the duration and quality of sleep, and the effect lasts for several days after the shifts."

Janszky and Ljung said that sleep deprivation can affect the cardiovascular system, leading the vulnerable to have heart problems in the days following Daylight Saving Time changes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar112011

Daylight Saving Time: How to Cope With the Loss of an Hour

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- This weekend, the clocks spring forward into daylight saving time -- the bittersweet adjustment that brightens the evenings while wreaking havoc on sleep schedules.

For most people, the shift is a nuisance.  But for some, it provokes weeks of sleep deprivation that take a heavy toll on mood and productivity, according to Dr. Phil Gehrman, clinical director of the University of Pennsylvania's Behavioral Sleep Medicine program.

Since researchers began studying the effects of daylight saving time in the 1970s, the missing hour has been blamed for spikes in car accidents and workplace injuries, as well as dips in stock market returns.

"People think, 'It's only an hour.'  But considering that most people aren't getting enough sleep to begin with, they often underestimate what an hour can do," Gehrman said.

The results are similar to jet lag.  But no one gets jet lag when they lose an hour traveling one time zone east.

"That's because there's more light in the morning, and that helps you adjust your body clock," said Dr. Alfred Lewy, chairman of psychiatry and director of the Sleep and Mood Disorders Laboratory at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon.  "But with daylight saving time, the new light-dark cycle works against your body clock. The extra light at the end of the day shifts it the wrong way."

The body clock is a cluster of neurons deep inside the brain in an area called the hypothalamus.  It generates the circadian rhythm, or sleep-wake cycle, that spans roughly 24 hours.  But it's not precise.

"It needs a signal every day to reset it," Lewy said.

The reset signal is light, which comes in through the eyes and transmits signals -- separate from those involved in vision -- that update the clock.  But when the sleep-wake and light-dark cycles don't line up, people feel out-of-sync, tired and even depressed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio