It seems like I talk about this on the radio right around this time every year. This year I figured I'd bring it up online as well. As most of you know, this weekend coming up is when we "spring" forward and set our clocks ahead one hour Saturday night before we hit the hay.

That's right, folks, one of our most hotly debated topics, Daylight Saving Time, begins this Sunday, March 13. Traditionally, it's been viewed as the day where "sure we lose an hour of sleep but it will be worth it because spring and better weather are coming!"

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It seems like half the people say we should just completely get rid of Daylight Saving for good, and considering what the American Heart Association has to say on the subject, I would have to agree.

According to the AHA, they're definitely of the opinion that daylight savings can have a negative impact on your body's health. Particularly the health of your brain and heart. Recent studies have shown an increase in risk for both stroke and heart attacks with the change to daylight saving time.

Results found in numerous studies(conducted all across the world in places like New York, Finland, and Michigan), show pretty conclusively that risks for both heart attacks and stroke increase significantly.

For instance, in the study conducted in Michigan, results were found that show on the Monday following the spring time change, there was a 24% increase in daily heart attacks. Conversely, on the Monday following the fall time change(when you gain an hour of sleep), there was a reduction in heart attacks of 21%.

Also, according to Finland's study, stroke rates also increased by 8% following the daylight saving time change. And, even more troubling, if you are already at risk for heart disease, the increase of risk for a heart attack is even greater.

Health experts say to be careful and take extra care. The American Heart Association recommends some steps to better protect yourself:

  • Start getting as much sunlight each day as possible
  • Start going to bed earlier so you can go into the time change better rested
  • Reduce your caffeine intake
  • Try not to take naps, so it will be easier to go to sleep at night

There is plenty more information to be gleaned from this study. Check it out for yourself at the American Heart Association's website here.

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