According to the American Heart Association, in addition to the fatigue, the transition can also affect your heart and brain. Hospital admissions for an irregular heartbeat pattern known as atrial fibrillation, as well as heart attacks and strokes, increase in the first few days of daylight saving time.
“Daylight saving time feels kind of like jetlag from traveling across time zones,” said Dr. Angela Holliday-Bell, a pediatrician and certified clinical sleep specialist.
“Your body needs time to readjust to a new light/dark cycle, so it can be hard on the body and hard on sleep,” Holliday-Bell said.
This cycle, also known as the circadian rhythm, is a fine-tuned system that our bodies use to regulate time, she said. For most people, that cycle is about 24 hours and 15 minutes.
“It dictates all the processes that occur in your body — including sleep, wake and digestion,” said Holliday-Bell. Even the immune system is controlled by your circadian rhythm, meaning “when you lose an hour, you’re losing some immune function as well,” she explains.
Sleep deprivation can also slow the executive function of the brain, which explains the increase in car accidents seen with the time transition of daylight savings. Mood can suffer too.