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Helping you 'spring forward'

By Norwalk Reflector Staff • Updated Mar 9, 2018 at 1:03 PM

The clocks will spring forward an hour Sunday signaling the start of Daylight Saving Time for 2018. This small time shift is an annoyance for many, but could also have an effect on their health.

Huron County Public Health (HCPH) and AAA are offering some tips to help make adjusting to the time change a little easier.

Research has suggested that Daylight Saving Time could cause an increase in heart attacks, stroke and headaches, among other health issues. This is due to the disruption of the circadian rhythm (body’s internal clock) and the resulting loss of sleep that many will experience following the time change.

To ease this transition HCPH has some suggestions for the public:

• Do not drink caffeine for a few days before or after the time change.

• Try to start going to bed earlier in the days leading up to Daylight Saving Time.

• Turn off electronic devices before heading to bed. Bright screens can affect a person’s ability to fall asleep.

• Eat a healthy breakfast in the morning. Food allows the body to know when it is time to start the day.

• Get some sunlight. Sunlight can help reset the body’s circadian rhythm.

Some studies have shown a disruption in a person’s sleeping pattern for weeks after the time change has occurred. However, even if a person’s sleep is not greatly affected, it may still take  2 to 3 days before their body has completely adjusted. Following these tips can help make “springing forward” as easy as possible. For more information visit www.huroncohealth.com.

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With the time change also comes a change in when the sun rises and sets, and that can affect drivers and pedestrians. Across the nation, pedestrian deaths have increased — and that’s why AAA East Central urges all adults to pay attention while driving or walking outdoors as everyone adjusts to the time change.

“With the time change, motorists should drive slower and should be extra alert,” said Theresa Podguski, AAA East Central director of legislative affairs. “More pedestrians, joggers and bicyclists will be enjoying the outdoors on or near streets in the longer evening daylight hours.”

Nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed in 2017, according to preliminary data from Governors Highway Safety Association. Moreover, pedestrian fatalities have increased 27 percent from 2007 to 2016, while all other traffic deaths decreased by 14 percent.

When the time changes, drivers can expect reduced visibility during the morning commute. The early morning drive to work or school will be darker, making it more difficult to see pedestrians and school children on foot. Drivers may need to turn on their headlights, if beginning their commute in the early morning and then turn their car headlights off when they get to their destination.

AAA recommends the following tips for pedestrian safety:

• See and be seen – drivers need to see you to avoid you.

• Pay attention. Put down your cell phone while walking.

• Make eye contact with drivers when crossing streets.

• Wear bright colors or reflective clothing at dusk and at night.

• Carry a flashlight when walking or walking pets after dark.

• Walk on the sidewalk. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic.

• Parents should teach and reinforce children’s pedestrian safety habits.

AAA recommends the following tips for drivers:

• All drivers should not drive impaired by alcohol or drugs or distraction.

• Drivers should slow down and watch for children and families in neighborhoods and along school bus routes, at intersections and when backing out of driveways.

• Always yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk.

• When approaching a crosswalk, reduce speed and be prepared to stop.

• When stopped at a crosswalk, allow enough room between your vehicle and the crosswalk so other drivers can see the pedestrians you have stopped for.

• Teen drivers should exercise extra caution.

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