Here we go again! It’s time to FALL BACK to standard time and get off of Daylight Savings Time.
WHEN DOES THE TIME CHANGE?
The majority provinces of in Canada return to Standard Time at 2:00 am Sunday November 7th, 2021. For most of us, this means setting the clock back an hour on Saturday night before we hit the sack, and enjoying that extra hour of sleep. (Note: if you are a parent of young children, you will not get that extra hour– they’ll still wake you at the old time, hopefully with cuddles – but this too will pass and before you know it your littles will be big and you will be enjoying the extra hour, but wishing you could swap it for the cuddles!). The Fall time change is way easier on us than the Spring Forward change, though on Monday night after the fall change, many of us struggle with staying up to our “new bedtime”.
BUT WAIT, I THOUGHT CANADA WAS GOING TO STOP CHANGING THE CLOCKS TWICE A YEAR?
Canada as a nation does not universally follow Daylight Savings Time. DST is observed in 9 out of 10 provinces, and 2 out of 3 territories. Both Saskatchewan and Yukon stay with their local Standard Times year-round, meaning they do not SPRING FORWARD with the rest of the country every second Sunday of March at 2 am.
In November 2020, the Ontario government passed legislation that would end the bi-annual changing of clocks, making daylight time permanent in the province—but there was a catch - the change would only happen if neighbouring jurisdictions, specifically Quebec and New York State agreed to do the same. So far that hasn’t come to pass, and with less than a week left, it’s highly unlikely. So we will still Fall Back this November and Spring Forward in March. But it’s possible that next fall we won’t do the change again.
WHY DO WE CHANGE THE CLOCKS?
The Canadian government introduced daylight saving time in 1918 as a measure for increasing production during the First World War, through having more hours of daylight to work. Similar legislation had been passed in Germany and Britain. The idea was that during months when the sun stays visible for longer, a pre-breakfast hour of daylight could be saved for use after supper. Countries did this by turning the clocks ahead by one hour in the spring (to start the day earlier) and back by one hour in the fall. Municipalities in Canada came to regulate DST to reduce the confusion present when different businesses on the same street used different times. The provinces became involved, passing different sorts of time legislation. Since 1987, official time zones and DST have been regulated by the provincial, territorial and municipal governments.
PROS AND CONS?
- DST’s longer hours of daylight make driving safer and lowers car and pedestrian accidents
- Longer daylight in the evening is better for the economy; people shop more, go out more and do more activities when DST is in effect
- DST promotes more active lifestyles
- DST is bad for our health. Changing sleep patterns, even by one hour, goes against a person’s natural circadian rhythms and has negative consequences for health. One study found that the risk of a heart attack increases 10% the Monday and Tuesday following the spring time change. The Spring time change also contributes to more auto and workplace accidents on those same days, and an increase in the fatality rate of auto accidents. The fall time change can increase the incidence of cluster headaches.
- DST lowers productivity. The Monday after the Spring time change is called “Sleepy Monday” because it is one of the most sleep-deprived days of the year, and employees are less productive.
- DST is expensive. There is the opportunity time cost of manually changing clocks in the workplace, plus the lost productivity, plus the confusion for industries like Airlines that have to sort out scheduling issues with countries and regions that do not follow DST.
HOW SHOULD I PREPARE?
The Fall time change is easier on us than the Spring, because in theory, we should be able to get an extra hour of sleep. But if you already have sleep challenges, any change to time can throw you off and make sleeping and waking rested extra difficult. Here are a few ways to prepare:
- Sleep well before the change. Amp up your self-care and sleep hygiene in the week leading up to the change and the week following. Check out our blog on sleep hygiene and bedtime routines.
- Gradually adjust your schedule if you can. In the spring, that means going to bed 15 minutes earlier each day. In the fall that might mean taking that extra hour on the Sunday to sleep, then taking the week following to gradually get on to the new, later bedtime, adjusting by 15 minutes each day.
- Prioritize Daylight Exposure. Get outside in the natural light as early in the day as you can. If you are indoors most of the day, try to get as much natural light in your space as possible, and sit as close to a window as you can. Natural light will prompt your body to adjust faster.