TIME CHANGE NEGOTIATIONS BEGINNING
Tired of afternoons as dark as night in the fall, after the onset of Standard Time? Weary of having to force your body to adjust to a new time regime twice a year? There’s hope on the horizon: the BC Chamber of Commerce passed a resolution at its AGM on May 31 to ask the BC government to work with other provincial and state governments in the Pacific Northwest Economic Region and the Pacific Coast Collaborative to all adopt Daylight Saving Time as the Pacific “standard” time — to stay on daylight saving time all year.
There are health and safety reasons for the request. A study done at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh in 2007 found that people walking during rush hour in the first few weeks after the clocks fall back in the autumn were more than three times as likely to be fatally struck by cars than before the change.
A Swedish study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2008 reported a higher incidence of heart attacks in the periods shortly after each time change, both in spring and autumn.
A scan of articles on time changes shows that the ill effects of changing time regimes has usually been blamed on daylight saving time, rather than on the act of changing our daily schedules by an hour twice a year. But a closer read shows that it isn’t daylight saving that’s the problem — it’s forcing our bodies to adjust to the difference, either way.
UBC sleep expert Stanley Coren thinks that in the long run, daylight saving time saves lives.
Coren notes that adjusting to a one-hour time difference throws off people’s normal sleep schedules, and can cause insomnia for some, resulting in greater sleep deprivation and a lower degree of alertness when, for example, driving. Car crashes occur more often during the time periods shortly after each change of time — both spring and fall.
Will the Chamber of Commerce be successful in persuading the BC government, and the other government authorities in the Pacific Northwest, to stay on daylight saving time all year? If so, we can look forward to safer, brighter autumn afternoons, and to less stress on our bodies. Stay tuned. Time will tell.