Should we end Daylight Savings Time?
A new poll in Quebec suggests that Daylight Savings Time will wreak its havoc on citizens, with a majority of Quebecers saying that they need up to one week after the springtime rollback to adjust.
For much of Canada and the United States, the second Sunday in March marks the beginning of Daylight Savings Time (DST), when at 2 am the clocks shift ahead to 3 am. Brought about with the aim of increasing the number of after-work hours of sunlight, DST came into common usage in Canada in the early 20th century, with the current timeline of the second Sunday in March established in 2007 to match that adopted in the US. Not every region of the country is currently on board, however, with most of Saskatchewan along with smaller pockets in BC, northwestern Ontario, Quebec and the territory of Nunavut foregoing DST.
The tradition has both its defenders and detractors. Outdoorsy types enjoy the bonus of more sunlight hours for activities while farmers dislike the disruption, saying that DST interferes with regular feeding schedules for livestock. Health experts, meanwhile, point out that heart attacks and accidents happen in greater numbers immediately following the onset of DST and that the reduction in morning light during the spring has its effect on those suffering from seasonal affective disorder.
More generally, everyone seems to gripe about that one less hour of sleep on Sunday night. “Many of us are already sleep deprived all year long (work, children, social life, etc.), therefore losing a precious hour in dreamland is dreadful and can cause sleep disturbance, mood swings,and loss of appetite,” says Isabelle Racicot, a mother of two and spokesperson for Bon Matin, the bread company which sponsored the Quebec poll.
Conducted by Léger Marketing, the survey saw 35 per cent of Quebecers admitting to experiencing difficulty waking up, 31 per cent having a lack of energy and 13 per cent being especially irritable after DST (though, to be fair, anyone waiting in line for coffee next Monday might think that last number to be a little modest).
Almost three quarters (72 per cent) of families surveyed said that they needed between one day and a full week to get used to the change and more than half (54 per cent) of parents surveyed said that if they had their druthers they’d have used that lost hour for more sleep.
Last month, Alberta MLA Thomas Dang from Edmonton-Southwest opened an online survey on the topic of DST and found that a majority of respondents spoke out against the practice. Dang, who at 21 years of age is the youngest MLA in Alberta’s history, says he has spoken to people about the topic including farmers who claim that the practice is more of a nuisance than it’s worth. “The original reasons [for it] being brought in are today more myths than fact,” said Dang to the CBC.
The new survey also looked at morning schedules among Quebec families and found that almost half (48 per cent) of parents polled admitted to rarely or never eating breakfast with family members during the week and that 31 per cent of families wished they could spend more time with their loved ones. Thus, to help with the DST transition next week, the Bon Matin company offers a set of recipe ideas that can help provide a filling breakfast to get everyone ready for the (sadly shorter) day.