Time change: Possible consequences for health

Time change: Possible consequences for health

Again this year, the clock will be put forward by one hour on the last weekend in March. That means an hour less sleep – for some people this can already lead to mini-jet lag. How does the time change affect our health?

“In summer before, in winter behind” is the motto: When changing from winter time to summer time, the clocks are put forward from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. Like mini-jetlag, the time change can   trigger health problems such as tiredness and sleep disorders . The time change has these consequences for your health and this is how you prevent  jet lag  .

The time change disturbs the “internal clock”

The time change can affect our sleep-wake cycle and our  biorhythm , i.e. our internal clock. For most people, this effect lasts one to two days and has no health consequences. Others react more sensitively to the time change – this can even have a negative effect on the organism for several weeks.

This is shown by the following signs:

  • an altered sleep-wake cycle
  • an impaired rest-activity rhythm
  • listlessness and exhaustion
  • less sleep time
  • decreased sleep quality

Especially the so-called “owls”, i.e. people who are fitter in the evenings and sleep longer in the mornings, have to struggle with the consequences of the changeover to daylight saving time. Even people who already suffer from insomnia often have difficulties after the time change.

Human performance is reduced

As a result of the poor quality of sleep and the changed sleep-wake cycle, health consequences can occur in the psychological and physical area. Studies show that  heart attacks are more common shortly after the changeover to daylight saving time  . A direct connection to the time change could not be determined so far, but the stress caused by disruptions in the internal clock could promote heart attacks.

Further consequences are particularly reflected in the mental area, which is also mainly due to the changed sleep-wake cycle. These episodes include:

  • Dissatisfaction and bad mood
  • tiredness and difficulty concentrating
  • Change in behavior (higher risk behavior etc.)
  • Increased manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder

The time change can therefore have an impact on the body and mind. You can prevent mini-jetlag and its consequences by adjusting your sleeping habits and slowly adjusting your body to summertime.

Time change: 5 tips against mini-jetlag

The following tips and tricks can help against mini-jetlag:

  1. Sport und Bewegung im Freien: Beim Sport produziert der Körper einerseits Glückshormone andererseits ist er nach dem Sport müde. Bewegung fördert gesunden Schlaf. Achtung: Nicht zu spät Sport treiben, um den Körper nicht abends unnötig lange zu aktivieren.
  2. Schlafzimmer abdunkeln und kühlen: Wenn es abends länger hell ist, stellt sich auch der Körper auf längere Tage ein. Ein dunkles Schlafzimmer trickst den Körper aus und signalisiert, dass es Zeit zu schlafen ist.
  3. Geregelter Schlafrhythmus: Besonders in der Woche vor und nach der Zeitumstellung wird ein geregelter Schlafrhythmus empfohlen. Der Körper findet so einen eigenen Rhythmus und verkraftet die Umstellung besser.
  4. Relaxation: Relaxation  methods in the form of meditation, progressive  muscle relaxation  or yoga can help you fall asleep. A relaxing bath or hot  milk  with  honey  can also help you fall asleep.
  5. Avoid Extra Stress:  Caffeinated drinks or greasy food late at night can make it difficult to fall asleep and affect sleep quality. Therefore, pay attention to your diet and avoid putting additional strain on your body.

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