Changing time can cause way more than just grogginess
Some may think the biggest inconvenience with Sunday’s clock change is needing extra coffee.
But according to one local sleep expert, it has far bigger implications.
“In the first couple of days after daylight saving time change, most people are sleep deprived,” Dr. Ron Cridland with the Kelowna Sleep Clinic told Kelowna10.
“That increases the risk of not only fatigue and sleepiness, but fatal motor vehicle accidents, fatal accidents in the workplace, increased risk of stroke, heart attack, depression, and suicide.”
It also leads to what Cridland called ‘cyber loafing’, where, due to increased fatigue, productivity decreases because people waste extra time in front of their devices.
He said a heavy disruption of our biological clocks, called circadian rhythms, can lead to cancer.
This theory is supported by the Canadian Cancer Society; concluding shift workers are at a higher risk of cancer related to disrupted sleep patterns.
“Our biological clock affects everything. Every cell in your body has a biological rhythm and that rhythm affects the various hormones that reproduce,” Cridland said. “Our sleep becomes disengaged from our biological clock. And that has effects that we’re beginning to understand.”
He added, it’s important to maintain our internal clocks with a consistent schedule and, crucially, getting early morning sunlight - something we will get less of after Sunday.
Daylight saving time is believed to have been first introduced by Benjamin Franklin, who noticed people burnt extra candles in the evening for light as it got darker.
By enacting the time change, the theory was that people wouldn’t need to burn as many candles by relying on the extra daylight in the evening.
“But that was a long time ago. Nowadays, it doesn’t really save on energy,” Cridland said. “Because people are still using their air conditioners, they’re watching TV, they’re on the internet.
“There really is no net savings anymore. There’s just harm.”
Therefore, he is a supporter of reevaluating the bi-annual clock change, suggesting the best option being standard time year-round, prioritizing more sunlight in the morning.
In 2019, the B.C. government passed an amended bill to end time change, following a survey where over 90 per cent responded in favour of ditching it.
Despite the legislation receiving royal assent, it hasn’t been enacted into law by the Lieutenant Governor. Part of this is due to the fact officials are waiting for west coast American states to do the same.
Cridland recommends preparing for the time shift by waking up and going to bed a half hour earlier for just a few days prior to Sunday night.
“Your biological clock can shift at a rate of an hour per day,” he said. “So, shifting it by a half an hour per day is a gentle way of doing it.”
Published 2022-03-09 by David Hanson
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