Daylight Saving Time: International students won’t like this change

I do not envy my international students, as they face an insult to their brains and bodies this weekend from the end of Daylight Saving Time.

It messes changes with Canadians, too, both in spring and fall.  The one-hour time adjustment addles people for up to a week

I teach Technical Communications at Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. I’ve already heard some of my international students ask: so why do we do it? I heard the same kind of comments in past semesters from students from Cambridge, Waterloo, and Brantford.

Daylight Saving Time has a complicated, convoluted history in Canada.  There is a consensus, mostly, of few benefits and many downsides of the bi-annual switching between Daylight Saving Time and Standard Time.

I expect grumpy, sleepy, and disoriented students joining me in class at 8 a.m. on Monday, November 6, 2023.

Thanks to that one-hour switch from Daylight to Standard at 2 a.m. Sunday, November 5. I’ll be grumpy, sleepy, and disoriented, too. Moreso than normal, I mean.

I’m always mentally foggy after the “fall back” time change, even after that bonus hour of sleep. I will have to remember to change the clocks on my microwave oven and coffee maker. And I won’t want to go to sleep at my normal bedtime Sunday night.

But it won’t be as bumpy as after the time change on March 10, 2024, when Daylight Saving Time returns for summer. That’s when we’ll all likely be more addled by the loss of an hour of sleep time that night, in return for more sunshine in summer evenings.

I always oversleep after the “spring ahead” clock change. And I have to change the clocks on my kitchen appliances back again.

When you wake up disoriented after the time change, check the official time on Canada’s atomic-powered clocks

Daylight Saving Cost: ‘Social Jetlag’

Researchers talk about “social jetlag” due to the time changes. It can prompt people to stay inside and eat more in the winter when it’s healthier to be outside and active in the fewer hours of available sunshine. 

Some research suggests an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, immune-related, digestive system problems, and injuries after the spring and fall time switches.  

Time changes also disrupt sleep and mental health.

Sorry, Daylight Saving Time Started in Canada

Daylight Saving Time was first implemented in Canadian town in 1908 in Ontario, then a few more in 1914 in Saskatchewan.  

The idea was adopted by Germany, France, and the United Kingdom during the First World War. It was intended to maximize work hours before sunset, minimizing the need for artificial lighting. 

The idea spread across Europe, back to North America, and eventually to a peak of 143 countries around the world trying it, at least for a while.  Today, the tally is down to 71, with more countries canceling each year.

In 2023, it’s 111 years and counting for Daylight Savings in Canada. Except, not in the Yukon Territory, most of Saskatchewan, and some parts of parts of British Columbia and Quebec.

The push to end Daylight Saving Time continues across the rest of Canada.  

The Province of Ontario passed legislation to end it, as soon as neighbouring Quebec province New York State does. New York’s Daylight Saving plans depend on proposed legislation at the United States federal government.

The idea of year-round summer Daylight time is part-way through U.S. government approvals in 2022, with hopes of becoming law in 2023.  

But the process is stalled in the U.S. and Daylight Saving Time remains in Canada.