Daylight saving time increases the risk of stroke, say Finnish researchers. The study found that the overall rate for stroke was 8% higher in the two days after daylight saving time.
Daylight saving time is the practice of advancing clocks during summer months by one hour so that in the evening daylight is experienced an hour longer.
‘Finnish researchers have found that changing the clock forward or back by an hour temporarily increases the risk of stroke.
Individuals with cancer were 25% more likely to have a stroke during that time, and people older than 65 were 20% more likely to have a stroke.
Despite the preliminary research, Cathy Sila, MD, Director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center says the association with daylight saving time and stroke is not necessarily a causation.
"If losing or gaining an hour of sleep here or there was a major stroke risk factor then people flying from Los Angeles to New York would be dropping like flies," says Dr. Sila.
Rather than being concerned about an increased risk of stroke because of disruptions in a sleep cycle twice a year, Dr. Sila says people who have breathing related sleeping problems like sleep apnea should be discussing risk factors with their doctors.
According to Dr. Sila, risk factors for stroke include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- High blood sugars for people with diabetes
- Being overweight
- Not exercising