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Why Tuesday?

The Girlfriend's Guide to Health will be updated every Tuesday.... Stay tuned dear readers and let me rock your world.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Time Travel

WE sprung ahead last week as I am sure you are all aware. This year I wholeheartedly welcomed the idea. As my cycbersisters know- jet lag was kicking my ass. Another hour ahead for a person who was walking up at 4 am ready to take on the planet…. Well, it was a gift. Couple that with the fact that I WAS on call last week in ICU and I would say, I welcomed moving the clocks forward as much as I welcome the new Spring lines to my closet…. BRING IT ON.

I realize I AM a week late to write about Day Light Saving time but I’ll blame the time change for messing up my internal clock and call it at that. A big shout out to one of my cyber sisters who sent me an email about the idea in the first place.

I’ll state my bias up front…. I love sleep….. I really LOVE it. I love getting ready for bed, I love the feel of those cool clean sheets at 8:30 at night when the rest of the world is just finishing dinner. Those of you who read my blog regularly (thanks- I should have the ten or so of you for dinner sometime) know that I really am a fan of getting my eight hours a night of slumber…

For me- sleep is like the perfect pair of strappy sandals… it should be cherished and protected. I keep my Manolos in their preassigned boxes. Why would I piss away an hour or two of sleep? I will multitask like a maniac. I will milk every hour out of every day doing three different things at once. But I WILL NOT loose sleep over any of it. Unless I’m on call, I’m getting eight hours a night. Let’s be clear dear girlfriends… if it is 2 am and I am awake… someone better be sick.

So you can imagine that springing ahead an hour should put me off. Losing one precious hour was akin to breaking a heel. It turns out, I am not alone….

More than 1.5 billion men and women are exposed to the transitions involved in daylight saving time: turning clocks forward by an hour in the spring and backward by an hour in the fall. These transitions can disrupt internal clocks or chronobiological rhythms and influence both the quality and quantity of sleep. This effect can last up to a week after the change.

A study out of Sweden examined the influence of these time changes and transitions on the incidence of myocardial infarction or heart attacks. The researchers examined a Swedish Registry of heart attacks comparing the of acute myocardial infarction during each of the first 7 days after the spring or fall time change. They then compared these numbers to the incidence of myocardial infarction on the corresponding weekdays 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after the day of interest.

The incidence of acute myocardial infarction was significantly increased for the first 3 weekdays after the transition to daylight saving time in the spring. In contrast, after the transition out of daylight saving time in the fall, only the first weekday was affected significantly.

The researchers saw an increase in myocardial infarctions of more than 100 heart attacks on the Monday following the SPRING AHEAD period versus almost 50 less heart attacks on the Monday following the FALL BEHIND corresponding Monday.

This was also a significant increase over the previous and the following Mondays during the two weeks prior and following.

There I was in the Lethbridge ICU on the Monday morning after Day Light Saving. Did I see a lot of heart attacks that morning? Sure. I see a lot of heart attacks all the time. It’s ICU. That’s what happens….

But the whole process makes sense. WE know from previous evidence that heart attacks and strokes are more prevalent at certain hours of the morning. The rise in cortisol for example that occurs at around 5 am in early morning increases blood pressure and in turn increases the risk of an acute event such as a heart attack and a stroke…..

There you have it my girlfriends… SPRING AHEAD is a risky business. One week later and the dust is just settling….

As for me… my previous jet lag has run its course…. I am back to bedtime at 9pm and up walking the fluffy monsters just after 6ish. The world really is falling apart…. But for now, my little corner has returned to some sense of routine…. For this week at least.

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