Every year we change the clock forward an hour in mid-March so we can have more daylight at the end of the day in the summertime. And it’s great to suddenly have sundown an hour later. Woohoo!

This is called Daylight Saving Time (DST) and they have a cool saying for moving the clock. Spring forward, fall back. Get it? We move the clock forward in the spring and we move the clock backward in the fall.

Ya, it sounds cool, and I don’t know about you, but I found it pretty rough when we had to put the time an hour backwards last November to return to Mountain Standard Time.

Remember? On November 6, the sun set at 5:14 and then it set at 4:11 on November 7. Not cool at all.

Many areas in North America are discussing no longer springing forward and falling back, including the United States Senate, who actually passed a law saying the US would stay on Daylight Savings Time.

That means the US would not fall back; instead, they would keep the extra hour of daylight at the end of the day. This still has to be passed by the House of Representatives to become the law of the land.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had it with changing the time. As one old timer said “only the government would think they can make a blanket longer by cutting a foot off the top of a blanket and sewing it onto the bottom.” Eschia, take it easy, eh!!

Side Effects of Time Change

Springing forward can have serious consequences for many people. That’s because moving the time forward throws our body’s internal 24-hour clock out of whack, which can affect us in ways we don’t realize.

In fact, the Sleep Foundation says most of us get about 40 minutes less sleep on the Monday after “springing forward” for daylight saving time, and our sleep can be messed up for days or weeks afterward.

A Swedish study found that we are more likely to have a heart attack in the first three days after switching to DST in the spring, with a 24 percent increase on Monday. There is also a documented increase in traffic accidents on the Monday following the switch and more strokes for two days after the time change. Whoa!!!

To boot, there are more injuries at the workplace, and the injuries are worse than on other Mondays. As well, an Australian study discovered an increase in male suicide rates after springing forward, although there was also an increase after falling back.

Studies also show people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to take risks and make mistakes, as lack of sleep can affect our ability to think and make decisions. For instance, medical errors jump and there is a 6 percent increase in fatal car crashes the week after we spring forward.

Lack of sleep is also bad for our memory, attention span, and focus, so we are often more easily distracted and less productive the day after we set our clock forward.

Not only that, experts say we may feel hungrier than normal for a week after the time change. Come on now!

The problem is that we’ll probably reach for pizza, doughnuts or other foods with high fat or sugar content. Say what? Yup. That’s because we make more unhealthy choices when we don’t get enough sleep.

No wonder my cupboard was full of doughnuts after we sprang forward. Just kidding about my cupboard, lol.

Research also shows that it’s harder for us to control our emotions when we don’t get enough sleep, so we will on edge, impatient, and more likely to snap at the ones we love.

And for heaven’s sake, don’t go to court after moving the clock ahead in the spring because judges may be moodier after the change. In fact, one study found that judges give tougher sentences right after moving our clocks ahead.

GNWT wants our input

The Government of the NWT is also considering not springing forward and falling back anymore. They want us to fill out an online survey or share our views by email or mail.

The survey is anonymous and should take about 5 minutes to do. Basically, they want to know if we want to keep changing the time twice a year or stay on either Mountain Daylight Saving Time or Mountain Standard Time. So get on it.

As my dad used to say “No use complaining later if we don’t participate and then we’re not happy with their decision.”

To find the survey online, type in: seasonal time change public engagement GNWT.

We can do the survey online until midnight on May 16, 2022 or we can request printed copies of the survey by emailing HaveYourSayDOJ@gov.nt.ca. We can also phone 867-767-9250 ext. 82022 for a survey.

Well, I just convinced myself. I’m going to fill out the survey and I’m going to say we should stay with Mountain Standard Time.

How about you?

Roy Erasmus

Roy Erasmus Sr. Is a certified wellness counsellor who survived heart disease and a former member of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories.

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