With the recent switch from daylight saving time to standard time, many are finding themselves, confused, disoriented, and exhausted. According to Global News, this phenomenon is caused by the “mismatch between the local clock and our body’s internal clock.” Because of the impact this change has on our health there is a growing discussion to abolish daylight savings and stick with the standard time all year-round instead.
Colleen Carney, a Professor and Sleep Specialist at Ryerson University tells Global News that the time change acts like simulated jetlag to our bodies, because the symptoms of mental and physical fatigue are almost uncannily similar. Carney explains that many people have difficulties sleeping and due to this their metabolism “takes a hit,” as does their eating routine.
A 2019 report in the Journal of Clinical Medicine found that heart attack rates increased in the weeks following both time changes. A 2016 study in Finland also demonstrated that stroke-related hospitalizations increased in just two days after the switch in time. In other words, daylight savings is correlated with increased risk of heart attack and strokes.
Mental health is also at stake because there is a link to depression due to decreased exposure to light. Lack of exposure to sunlight is shown to lower serotonin levels which is associated with higher risk of major depression and seasonal depression. It is simple: if we don’t change the clocks, we lower the risk of having these impacts, at least a little bit.
There is also evidence of the time change resulting in many accidents. A 2011 analysis of police statistics found that nine more pedestrians were hurt or killed in accidents during the week of the time change when compared to the weeks prior and after. It is also noted that workplace injuries are increased in this time.
Because of the unnecessarily detrimental effects of the time change, some places have already begun strictly adhering to standard time. In Canada, Yukon Territory, Saskatchewan, and some areas of British Columbia and Quebec already strictly hold to standard time and do not change their clocks anymore.
Moving away from this time change and sticking to daylight saving time alone is an extremely beneficial move for us. Due to the evenings getting darker earlier, people are found to be much less active in the evenings. By avoiding the switch in time and keeping it brighter later into the evening, people may be more motivated and active, rather than simply ending their day shortly after having their last meal of the day.
As students, we are under constant stress and pressure to keep up with coursework, jobs, and our family and social lives. With our mental and physical wellbeing already on the line, the addition of this early darkness only drags our energy down and makes us feel even more exhausted than we already are. By abolishing the time change, we simultaneously raise our chances of eliminating many of the unnecessary stressors that we subject our minds and bodies to and give ourselves a greater chance at a stable, constant rhythm for our bodies—a sense of stability that is imperative to the body.
Despite the change only being an hour difference, the effects are huge on many and may take up to a few weeks for the body to adjust to the new rhythm. And soon enough, we are back to square one when we change our clocks again in the spring.