CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) – Many people dread the spring forward at the end of Daylight Saving Time every spring because we lose one hour of sleep, but studies from the American Heart Association suggest that the time change is also bad for heart and brain health.

In 2022, West Virginia and the rest of the east coast go back onto Eastern Daylight Time on March 13, at 2 a.m., and during the transition, there may be an uptick of strokes and instances of heart disease, according to the American Heart Association.

A 2018 study that was presented to the AHA reported that hospital admissions for atrial fibrillation (AFib), the most common type of irregular heartbeat, rise with daylight saving time transition. Researchers found that on the Monday to Thursday following the start of the time transition in the spring, there were 3.13 AFib hospital admissions a day compared to 2.56 daily admissions for the same days on average over the rest of the year.

That’s an increase of almost 82%. There was no notable difference in AFib admissions for the Monday to Thursday following the autumn transition at the end of daylight saving time.

The Monday following the spring change was associated with a 24% increase in daily heart attack counts. On the other hand, the Tuesday following the fall time change where people gain an hour of sleep saw a 21% reduction in heart attacks, according to a study from Michigan.

A Finland study also found that the overall rate of ischemic stroke was 8% percent higher during the first two days after a daylight saving time transition.

“We don’t really know the specific reason for increases in heart disease and stroke during the daylight saving time change, but it likely has something to do with the disruption to the body’s internal clock, or its circadian rhythm,” said American Heart Association President Donald M. Lloyd-Jones

If you are at risk for heart disease or have a hard time adjusting to the spring-forward time change, the AHA recommends the following for keeping yourself from an increased risk of heart problems:

  • Get as much light as possible each day before the time change
  • Start winding down a little early in the days leading up to March 13

Adjusting ahead of time can help make the change less harsh on your body.

  • Don’t compensate with extra caffeine
  • Don’t take a nap

Adding caffeine with heart conditions can be bad for your heart, and too much caffeine and naps can both make it harder to sleep normally in the following days.