Changing your sleep schedule is never a pleasant thing. Those first few days, after getting a new job which requires you wake up early, or after daylight savings are simply a bother. You’re tired, cranky, you feel very unproductive, and let’s not even get started on how much coffee you have to drink before being able to do anything.
But while most people don’t get new jobs often enough for them to need to readjust their sleep schedule, daylight savings are a constant thorn in our sides – especially the spring ones. As it turns out, they might be more than just a nuisance, as a study from Finland shows cardiovascular event risk increased by daylight savings.
Previous studies had already confirmed that the risk of ischemic stroke is increased by disruptions in a person’s circadian rhythm. So, a team of researchers from Finland’s University of Turku decided to find out whether daylight savings put people at risk of having a stroke.
The meta-analysis performed by the team looked at stroke data going back almost an entire decade, from 2004 to 2013. They looked at the data of 3,000 people hospitalized during the week of daylight savings, as well as at that of 12,000 patients interned two weeks before or after the event.
Although not too worrisome, the results were immediately obvious. According to the team of scientists, the risk of ischemic stroke increases by as much as 8% during the first two days after daylight savings. This isn’t really that much, as confirmed by the lead researcher, but it does show how important a regular sleep schedule is for a healthy life.
This is what Dr. Jori Ruuskanen, lead author of the study, had to say about the findings:
Although from an individual point of view, this small increase in stroke risk we see in a population level is probably not a major issue, the study emphasizes the importance of sleep disturbances as a risk factor for stroke.
But stroke isn’t the only cardiovascular incident waiting to happen if you have an erratic sleep schedule. Back in 2014, a study in the Open Heart journal showed how spring daylight savings were associated with an increased risk of having a heart attack.
Of course, with the study being a meta-analysis as well as observational, there was no direct cause-effect relationship found between the two. Instead, it suggests that something related to what the body goes through when having an irregular sleep schedule is responsible for an increased risk of both stroke and heart attack.
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