The End of Seasonal Time Changes?

Another Province is Hoping to Opt Out

In the British Columbia Legislature, a bill has been tabled to stop the “Spring Forward” and “Fall Back” time changes. Instead, the bill proposes that they stay on Daylight Saving Time.

This Sunday (November 3rd, 2019) at 2am the clocks turn back one hour and we return to Standard Time. This is the time of year when you can get an extra hour of sleep… so long as you don’t have children whose internal clocks will wake them up at what will be “an hour early”.

There has been a lot of talk on social media over the last few years from people who just want to stop changing the clock and leave it on either Standard Time or Daylight Saving Time.

Why Change the Clocks?

Why did we start changing the clocks, anyway?

The idea was brought up more than once by Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century but Daylight Saving Time was first formally introduced in Germany in 1915 and Britain followed suit shortly after. Having the light in the evening during the summer was considered an “energy saving measure”.

During the summer, there was sun when a lot of people were still asleep. So, shifting the clock forward would mean the light at 6am would now be at 7am and evening would be bright until, say, 9pm instead of 8pm. They were “saving the daylight” for when they were awake. In the winter, we fall back so that instead of the sun being up at 9am, it’s up at 8am.

Should We Stop Time Changes?

Myriam Juda, PhD and research associate in the Department of Psychology at Simon Fraser University in BC, agrees that we should stop changing the clocks but we need to be set permanently on Standard Time, not Daylight Saving Time (DST) as BC wants to do.

She says that having the sun rise as late as 9am in the winter would have serious effects on our bodies. Our circadian rhythm, or circadian clocks, sync to the dark/light cycle. We need light in the morning or it will be harder to wake up and our sleep will be cut. Children will get less sleep and it’s not good for mental health and school performance.

Time Zones

What would the time zones look like if BC stayed on DST permanently?

CBC has that answer:

With daylight time permanent, B.C. summers would have the same time differences we’ve known for decades:

  • Three hours behind Ontario.
  • One hour behind Alberta.
  • One hour ahead of Alaska.
  • On the same time as Yukon and Washington state.

In the winter, on the other hand, B.C. would be:

  • Two hours behind Ontario.
  • On the same time as Alberta.
  • Two hours ahead of Alaska.
  • One hour ahead of Yukon and Washington state.

The change would not affect B.C.’s Peace Region or the Kootenay town of Creston, which have never changed clocks for daylight time.

 

Should we stop changing the clock?