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http://www.concordia.ca/content/shared/en/news/main/stories/2016/11/04/how-daylight-saving-time-affects-our-circadian-rhythms.html

Does that extra 60 minutes in the sack really help?

Concordia research associate Nuria de Zavalia explains how Daylight Saving Time affects our circadian rhythms, and how you can lessen the impact
November 4, 2016
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By J. Latimer

“The extra hour of sleep sounds great, but when we change the time, there's an alteration of the circadian rhythms and that's when the problems start.”	| Photo by Woodleywonderworks (Flickr CC) “The extra hour of sleep sounds great, but when we change the time, there's an alteration of the circadian rhythms and that's when the problems start.” | Photo by Woodleywonderworks (Flickr CC)


Is everyone ready to get an extra hour of sleep this weekend?

At 2 a.m. this Sunday morning, November 6, we will return to standard time by moving our clocks back one hour.

This change happens annually on the first Sunday in November — unless you live in most of Saskatchewan, Southampton Island in Nunavut or small pockets of Northwestern Ontario, Quebec or BC.

These regions of Canada never opted into Daylight Saving Time (DST), although other cities and regions were using DST as early as 1918.


Spring forward, fall back

“The extra hour of sleep sounds great, but when we change the time, there's an alteration of the circadian rhythms and that's when the problems start,” says Nuria de Zavalia, a research associate who works with Shimon Amir, a psychology professor in the Faculty of Arts and Science and director of the Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology at Concordia.

It's like jet lag, she adds, explaining that alterations in the circadian system can affect alertness, mood, stress hormone levels, memory formation, cognitive performance, metabolism, cardiovascular system and, especially, depression.

“Daylight Saving Time does not help people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, for example,” says de Zavalia. “And research has shown that the Monday after the time change — especially in the spring, when we have one hour less sleep — there is an increase in car accidents, heart attacks and depressive episodes.”

So, what can be done to lessen the effects of returning to standard time?

“Start early,” says de Zavalia. “If you can change the clocks a few days early, in 10-minute increments instead of a full hour in one shot, it’ll be easier on your system.”


Learn more about Concordia's
Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology.

 



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