It’s that time of year again when clocks and sleeping patterns are adjusted. Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday, March 8 at 2 a.m.
Be sure to set your clocks ahead by one hour, although for the most part it will be an effortless change as your smartphones and computers should automatically adjust in time. For microwaves, analog clocks and watches, manual time changes may be required.
The arrival of longer-lasting sunlight during the day also means a reprieve for those suffering from seasonal affective disorder or the winter blues.
Daylight Saving Time originates from the Industrial Revolution when industrial societies began to organize the hours of daylight and find a way to save money on utilizing expensive candle wax. It is utilized in most of North America, Europe, and parts of South America and Australia.
While an hour was ‘added’ in November when Daylight Saving Times ended, Canadians will lose one hour of sleep tonight and it could be a bigger problem for those already chronically sleep-deprived.
“We live in a society that is chronically sleep-deprived, and very bad things happen when chronic sleep deprivation is an issue. Spring Daylight Saving Time is a period when a lot of people lose a little extra time,” said UBC Professor Emeritus Stanley Coren.
“We looked at different types of accidents, including traffic accidents and workplace accidents, in Canada and found that there was a five-to-seven per cent increase in accident fatalities during the three days following spring Daylight Saving Time.”
He thinks people need to go to bed earlier on the day of the change as it is harder to sleep later: humans tend to awaken fairly automatically. “Our eyelids are not opaque and most people are sensitive to increases in light, so we tend to wake up before our alarms go off because of that.”
While there is an initial hazard to Daylight Saving Time, an overall life-saving benefit exists over the long-term when people get up and return home in brighter daylight.