World News – CA – BC government ignoring science on time change, experts say


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On the eve of another seasonal clock change, Prime Minister John Horgan has hinted that this will be the last time British Columbians will have to turn back the clock – and that worries many sleep experts

Sunday, November 1, at 2 a.m., the province’s clocks will move back one hour and, in so doing, align the daily rhythms of millions of people with the sun

« One more season of patience If [US] can’t pull itself together, I would say this is the last season of pullback and rebound, » Horgan told Global News recently

BC, Washington and Oregon have passed legislation to eliminate seasonal daylight saving time changes and most California voters support the move But as the US states await congressional approval – something that has been ruled out by COVID-19 pandemic – scientists studying circadian rhythms say switching to permanent daylight saving time, as proposed by Horgan and presented to British Columbians in a referendum last year, would be devastating to human health

« It’s a disaster They didn’t listen to the scientists, » said Joseph De Koninck, researcher at the Brain and Mind Research Institute at the University of Ottawa « It is very clear that the best thing for humanity is to maintain original human time »

De Koninck mentions the case of Russia, which switched to permanent summer time in 2011, to return to permanent winter time in 2014

« The population couldn’t stand it because from morning to winter people didn’t like the idea of ​​going to school in the dark, » he said, noting that if BC were to switch to daylight saving time definitively, dec 21 would see people in Metro Vancouver come out of the shadows around 9 a.m.

But the decision to get away from the sun’s day rhythms has far deeper implications than trips in the dark and whether you prefer to golf in the morning or afternoon

A growing body of research has shown that the misalignment of human sleep patterns with the sun – and the sleep deprivation that accompanies it – can lead to serious health consequences, from diabetes and depression to weakening of the executive decision-making functions of our brain frontal lobe

« Your judgment is important for adaptation It is important that the frontal lobe rejuvenates », said De Koninck « People make bad decisions, they take more risks, they are more emotional »

The body of chronobiology research indicates that a switch to permanent daylight saving time would also lead to more cases of obesity, certain forms of cancer and heart disease in the population, De Koninck said

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« There are 30 articles on this topic right now [which show an] increase in spring heart attacks alongside the switch to daylight saving time, » he said. « You still have very little of it. ‘fall because of sleep recovery « 

Without the signals provided by the sun – especially in the morning when we wake up, and again at noon when the sun is highest in the sky – our sleep patterns drift and we go to bed later and later, explains From Koninck

At the same time, studies show that 10 am is the time when people’s minds are sharpest and the end of the afternoon when the heart is strongest, which leads the best athletes in the world. world to beat their records at the end of the day

Reviews of Permanent Standard Time Point to Prolonged Afternoon Darkness and Impact on Depression But De Koninck says the influence of early sunsets can be combated by taking doses of early morning sun and exercising regularly

De Koninck is not the only scientist calling on society to shift to a permanent time aligned with the sun

The American Academy of Sleep Science Medicine released a position paper this month supporting a permanent switch to standard time, citing accumulated evidence that the switch to daylight saving time contributes to  » significant risks to public health and safety, including an increased risk of cardiovascular events, mood disturbances and traffic accidents « 

And in another review paper published by the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms in June 2019, the researchers wrote: “We must recognize the important role of light in shaping our daily behavior and the important role of our biological clock in maintaining our health and well-being « 

With so much momentum for the government to listen to science due to the ongoing pandemic, De Koninck says now is the time to educate and advocate for a clock aligned with the natural world, which humans are doing cannot separate

But others in the field of chronobiology worry that the arguments about changes over time have become so complicated, and the impacts so obscure, that average British Columbians would sooner resort to their personal preferences. only to listen to science

« Will people be more interested in the subject, will they understand it more? » I’m not sure, ”asked Dr. Myriam Juda, research associate at the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Lab at Simon Fraser University

« There are so many levels of complexity People just don’t understand the problem They know there is a time change, but they don’t know which is which which gives them more sleep It’s confused « 

Earlier this year, Judah was scheduled to meet with leaders at Vancouver Coastal Health to draft a guidance note on moving to a permanent clock

She remembers sitting in the waiting room for the appointment, reading the news about how COVID-19 was crippling China

But with Horgan’s latest ultimatum, time may be running out to help policymakers and the public understand what is at stake if the province switches to permanent daylight saving time De Koninck and Judah remain hopeful that the COVID-19 pandemic has helped more people recognize the value of science in public policy

“If we didn’t have a circadian clock, it wouldn’t matter But it’s not arbitrary, there is a sun hour that is real,” Judah said. “It doesn’t is not an easy message to explain « 

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World news – CA – BC government ignoring science on time change, experts say



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