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  • Cameron Oglesby

Make Daylight Savings Time easier on your heart

Daylight Savings Time starts just a week from now, on Sunday, March 13.

And for the more than 2.7 million Americans with some form of atrial fibrillation (AFib for short)), setting the clock ahead can bring on some cardiac setbacks.

The American Heart Association reports that “[s]tudies have shown the time transition can…increase risks of heart attack and stroke” resulting from blood clots, heart failure, and other AFib-related complications.

Examining nearly 6,300 records of AFib patients age 18 to 100 admitted to Montefiore Medical Center between 2009 and 2016, researchers found that admissions on the first Mondays through Thursdays after Daylight Savings Time spiked 37% higher than normal.

Why this happens is still unknown, “but it likely has something to do with the disruption to the body’s internal clock, or its circadian rhythm,” says AHA president Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones. “If you are already at risk for cardiovascular disease, the time change can be even more risky…and there are some specific steps you can take to prepare for the impact of ‘springing forward’ each spring.”

These steps to ease into the time change include:

· Start getting as much light as possible each day. It can start adjusting your body rhythm.

· Start winding down a little earlier each evening. You’ll be better rested going into the time change.

· If you feel sleepy during the day, don’t compensate with either extra caffeine or afternoon catnaps. Either one will interfere with good night’s sleep.

Of course, these are all good things to do all year long, as are getting your blood pressure and cholesterol checked, eating smart, and getting enough exercise.

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