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Who’s got time for clock changes?

By Dan Brown, The London Free Press

If you hate the twice-yearly ritual of moving your clocks ahead one hour in the spring and then back in the fall, you might not have long to wait.

That’s because at least one sleep researcher believes daylight time could be eliminated within a decade.

“I think they’re talking about it in Ontario right now. Saskatchewan has scrapped it altogether,” said Colleen Carney, an academic at Ryerson University in Toronto who studies insomnia.

She said if authorities pay attention to the mounting data demonstrating how the switch messes with our internal body clocks, they logically will follow through and abolish the time change that originated as a way to save fuel during wartime.

All clocks go forward 60 minutes on Sunday at 2 a.m.

“Everyone’s going to feel this to some extent,” Carney said of the shift’s ill effects, which include mood changes, fatigue and sleep deprivation and can lead to ­mental health problems. For most, however, the impact is mild.

But Carney points to a growing body of studies that show traffic collisions increase in the week after the change and behaviour such as “cyber-loafing” increases on the first day back to work — that is, half-asleep employees wasting time on the job, thus decreasing productivity.

It’s all because the cues we get from the environment around us throw us off, since they’re out of step with our internal body clocks. “Which is basically what happens with jet lag,” Carney explained.

There are ways to mitigate being thrown for a loop, she adds.

“You could break it off into chunks,” she said, phasing in the hour-long change in 30-minute chunks over two days.

“Next morning, focus on getting lots of light exposure,” Carney also recommended. As well, it helps to have a regular routine for the next couple weeks.

“If people pay attention to the data” they’ll conclude this is one practice we can do without, Carney said, adding “there’s no upside at all” to daylight time. It’s simply something we do because we’ve being doing it for decades.

“I’m in favour of scrapping it.”

danbrown@postmedia.com

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