Researchers support abolishing Daylight Savings Time for better health and well-being

Nov 4 2019, 9:18 am

A group of Canadian researchers are calling for the end of Daylight Saving Time.

McGill University professor Nicolas Cermakian, University of Guelph professor Tami Martino, and York University associate professor Patricia Lakin-Thomas are part of the Canadian Society for Chronobiology and study periodic phenomena in living organisms.

According to the society, fundamental research in chronobiology examines the mechanisms of the biological clocks and their interactions with other physiological systems.

Lakin-Thomas is a leading expert on cell biology and chronobiology, and strongly supports abolishing Daylight Saving Time.

The scientist and researcher believe that a “return of Standard Time throughout the year would be better for our health and well-being, pointing to research that shows a disrupted internal clock can cause increased rates of car accidents, heart attacks, strokes, weight gain, anxiety, and workplace injuries.”

Writing on behalf of the Canadian Society for Chronobiology, the experts weighed in on Daylight Saving Time (DST), saying they support the switch to adopt to Standard Time (ST).

The researchers said that after time switches, particularly the “spring forward,” there is a marked increase in car accidents, heart attacks, strokes, and workplace injuries.

The Society said that while there is an argument in favour of permanent DST because there would be more light during the day, they said it would also mean less morning light, which is important in resetting our biological clocks.

The result of this would be “social jet lag,” which is when the body clock doesn’t match social clocks of having to wake up when it’s dark, for example. And the researchers said that this social jet lag can cause problems on the body including sleep disruption, lower productivity, and increased risk of negative health impacts.

Meanwhile, they argue that a move to permanent ST would move “social time” closer to our natural “body time.”

Earlier this year in Ontario, a private bill was introduced to make Daylight Saving Time permanent in the province. In BC, Premier John Horgan plans to introduce Daylight Saving Time legislation this fall.

But the Society said that permanent Daylight Saving Time was tried in the US, and repealed because it was found to be difficult to wake up in the dark.

Scientists globally support the initiative to adopt Standard Time.

According to an article titled “Why Should We Abolish Daylight Saving Time?” in the Journal of Biological Rhythms, the choice of DST is political and therefore can be changed.

“If we want to improve human health, we should not fight against our body clock, and therefore, we should abandon DST and return to Standard Time (which is when the sun clock time most closely matches the social clock time) throughout the year,” reads the journal.

“This solution would fix both the acute and the chronic problems of DST. We therefore strongly support removing DST changes or removing permanent DST and having governing organizations choose permanent Standard Time for the health and safety of their citizens.”