Heart Attack Rates Could Increase if Daylight Saving Time Disappears, Say Expert Doctors

Updated: Apr. 21, 2024

"This is a very powerful signal that demonstrates the importance of a good night’s sleep," says a heart doctor.

The first weekend in November ushers in an earlier nightfall, but the extra hour of sleep you’ll hopefully “gain” this weekend makes the end of daylight saving time a slightly more palatable shift. While the rest of us are snoozing—and while some lawmakers are debating whether this more-than-100-year-old daylight saving tradition should end for good—some cardiovascular researchers are monitoring data that demonstrates the remarkable effect that extra hour of sleep has on your health.

According to Dr. Daniel Hermann, MD, an interventional cardiologist at Memorial Hermann in Houston, TX, the results are rather striking. This year, data show that the day after losing an hour of sleep, the risk of heart attack increased by nearly 25%.

On the other hand, the risk of a heart attack decreased by 21% the Tuesday after gaining an extra hour of sleep

Dr. Hermann explains that most of the patients who experienced a heart attack had uncontrolled cardiovascular risk factors (elevated blood pressure, poorly controlled diabetes, high cholesterol). Losing that precious hour of sleep seemed to be “the final straw,” this heart doctor says.

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“This is a very powerful signal that demonstrates the importance of a good night’s sleep,” Dr. Hermann explains. “But it also demonstrates the fragility of health, and the importance of doing what you can as an individual to maximize your health. So this weekend, enjoy that extra hour of sleep. But also, take an opportunity to improve your heart health by eating a heart healthy diet, exercising, and getting your risk factors under control.”

Dr. Majid Basit, MD, also a cardiologist with Memorial Hermann in Houston, offers some tips to get better sleep this time of year, as well as year-round:

  • The bedroom should be for sleeping, not watching TV, not playing on your phone
  • The bedroom needs to be quiet, cool, and dark
  • Go to sleep around the same time every day of the week
  • Try to avoid drinking a lot of fluid before going to bed
  • Try to avoid caffeine four hours before going to bed