Time change: daylight saving time returns at two in the morning between Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 March. The appeal of neurologists: “No more changes now, the constant changes are bad for your health”
L’winter time the minutes are numbered. At two in the morning between Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 March, daylight saving time returns. The hands move forward 60 minutes to Sunday 29 October. In a world divided between those who want permanent solar time and those who want daylight saving time, Beth Ann Malowprofessor of neurology and pediatrics at Vanderbilt University and director of the division of sleep at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, studied, as he tells on The Conversation, for more than five years the health effects of these clock changes. He found that, regardless of the pros and cons of each, the continuous modification of the timetable is linked to negative effectssuch as more heart problems and more.
More heart attacks and accidents
‘A Finnish investigation has shown that, except on the first day, a increase in the number of heart attacks
. The same goes for the atrial fibrillationaccording to a study conducted in the state of New York: the peculiarity in this case is that this statistical significance seems more valid for women», he explains Luigi Ferini Strambi, full professor of Neurology at the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University and director of the Sleep Medicine Center at the San Raffaele-Turro Hospital, Milan. «Another research, on the other hand, found that road accidents increase the day after the time change, an increase probably linked to sleep deprivation. However, during the entire period in which the spring-summer timetable is in force, accidents decrease significantly: this could also be explained by the greater light when people return home from work. In an Austrian study it was seen that in the week following the spring change there is a increase in the daily death rate by about 3% while no significant changes were observed after returning to standard time. These data help us understand why the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, of which I am a member, and the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms have taken a position in favor of the abolition of seasonal time changes. In assessing the impact of changing the timetable, in addition to energy savings, possible health risks must be considered. The problem is not whether summer or winter time is better, but is to understand that it is preferable not to change it
The beginnings of the time change
For the sake of the statesman Benjamin Franklin who one day casually getting up at six saw with surprise the sun high and the city still in bed. So in 1784 he wrote a letter entitled «An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light» to the director of the Journal de Paris: he suggested to Parisians to abandon their habits and to wake up earlier in the morning so as not to waste natural light and save on consumption some candles. He calculated the mountain of wax needed in the homes of one hundred thousand citizens from March 20 to September 20 at 30,000 tons.
Who is disadvantaged
There are three chronotypes identified based on one’s genetically determined internal biological clock: normal; “owl”
represented by about 20% of the general population who prefer to go to bed and wake up later; “lark”
, less than 10%, used to going to bed and getting up early. «The “owl” suffers the most from the spring time change because it has to work even harder to wake up an hour earlier», continues Ferini Strambi. «Elderly people and children also have difficulties, categories used to having fixed times that mark the day, such as those for eating and resting. And precisely because they are used to respecting precise timetables, the animals suffer from the modification of the timetable».
How to prevent discomfort
«The ideal is prepare 2-3 days before summer time, gradually anticipating bedtime
And or, if you can’t, by not overdoing it by staying late at night. Another tip is to expose yourself to light as soon as you get up, opening curtains and blinds. It is important because light affects the increase in levels of cortisola hormone that modulates the stress response, and prevents the release of melatoninthe hormone that promotes sleepiness.
At the table
“To make it easier to fall asleep,” he adds Silvana Hrelia, full professor of Biochemistry at the University of Bologna, «it is advisable not to exaggerate with alcohol and with the quantities of dishes, avoid nerve foods such as tea, coffee and cocoa. Within a varied and balanced diet, however, space forfoods rich in magnesium
such as cereals such as oats and barley, bananas, nuts and those rich in tryptophan
a anti insomnia amino acid. It is the precursor of serotonin and is found in foods such as almonds, whole grains, milk derivatives such as fresh, unseasoned cheeses».
Mini practical guide to fight insomnia
Some advice, valid at all ages, to get up with less effort and improve the quality of sleep
• Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, the best way to respect circadian rhythms. When it gets late, the next day it’s better not to get up too late and go to sleep early in the evening.
•Create a ritual before going to bed: brushing your teeth and then relaxing by reading, practicing mindfulness, emptying your mind.
•Avoid electronic devices at least an hour before sleep. If you can’t help it, consult them standing up. When the body signals that it is tired of being in that position, turn them off and lie down.
•No electronic devices in the room
. If you use your cell phone alarm clock, don’t keep your smartphone on the bedside table so you’re forced to get up to turn it off.
• If you like games, try the puzzle alarm clock: you need to solve the puzzle to turn it off.
• Reward yourself for getting up as soon as the alarm goes off.
•Follow the 30-minute rule: if you don’t fall asleep within half an hour, get up or else your brain links the sleep disturbance to the bed. Do something relaxing, like reading, practicing deep breathing, listening to soft music or podcasts, flipping through a magazine, and going back to bed again as soon as you feel sleepy.
• If you work from home, don’t use the bed as a desk because the brain can reconnect it to stressful situations.
•Practicing regular sport, but no physical activity before going to sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation, people with chronic insomnia can fall asleep about 13 minutes faster and gain up to 20 minutes more sleep per night by starting an exercise routine.
•If you don’t sleep well, keep a night diary and talk to your doctor about what to do, do not prescribe anything.
March 25, 2023 (change March 25, 2023 | 1:45 pm)
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