Daylight Savings Time (DST) ends this weekend and according to Dr. Michael Antle, a professor in the department of psychology at the University of Calgary (U of C), “we will all feel very well rested come Monday.”
Antle studies the neurobiology of circadian rhythms in mammals on a cellular level.
“The circadian clock controls easily measurable behavioural and physiological processes,” said Antle’s U of C website.
“Our bodies follow the sun. Through October our body’s schedule starts realizing it’s darker longer and it becomes harder for us to get up and going in the day,” said Antle in an interview with the Western Standard.
“When we go out of daylight savings time, our bodies move back into our more natural standard time.”
Antle has long advocated doing away with the tradition of changing our clocks twice a year. He contributed a guest column for the Western Standard leading up to the municipal election in October when switching to permanent DST was up for a referendum vote by Albertans.
“I was disappointed to see the proposal was to move to permanent Daylight Savings Time,” Antle wrote in his column.
Antle said his issue with year-round DST is that Albertans will be waking up an hour earlier in the winter leaving people in the dark longer in the mornings.
“We know from large-scale, nationwide studies that people who experience later sunsets sleep less and have poorer health, with increased rates of diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer. This comes from later bedtimes with later sunsets, but early awakenings,” Antle said in his column.
“We are naturally inclined to get up around dawn. Think about it – people in Edmonton won’t be seeing sunrise until 10 a.m. and in Grande Prairie, I believe it’s around 10:30 a.m.”
Antle points to attempts made by other countries who tried to switch to permanent DST.
“Permanent DST was tried in Russia in 2012 and in the USA in 1973. In each case, the practice was abandoned once citizens experienced just how profoundly long and dark the winter mornings were,” said Antle.
“Try this — on Friday take a picture of the sky at 8 a.m., do the same on Monday and compare them,” said Antle.
“Our bodies are going to be going into their happy place this weekend and on Monday, we’ll all feel very well rested.”
Results for the referendum question: Do you want Alberta to adopt year-round Daylight Saving Time, which is summer hours, eliminating the need to change our clocks twice a year? were released October 26.
Albertans, by a very small margin — 50.1% vs. 49.9% — voted to keep changing their clocks twice a year.
Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard