Don’t forget to change your clocks: Daylight Saving Time (DST) starts today!

Clocks ‘spring forward’ this weekend, 110 years after they first did in Port Arthur in Ontario.

Some Interesting Facts About Daylight Savings Time

  • Port Arthur in Ontario was the first town to use DST in 1908.
  • Germany was the first country to adopt DST, on April 30, 1916. A few weeks later the UK adopted it as well.
  • In Canada, DST is a provincial matter. Regina was the first to implement it on April 23, 1914. The province of Sasketchewan and even some regions in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Nunavat do not follow DST.
  • The USA standardized DST in 1966.
  • Less than 40% of the world follows DST. China and India don’t follow it and Russia does not follow it as of 2014.
  • Originally proposed as a way of saving energy, a 2008 study found that it may not be true. It showed that there is a tradeoff the demand for electricity for lighting and that for heating/cooling.
  • The concept of DST was first raised by entomologist George Hudson in 1895, who wanted more daylight hours to study insects.
  • Some say the idea was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, but apparently he mentioned it as a joke.
  • It was raised again in 1905 by Englishman William Willett (the great-great-grandfather of Coldplay frontman Chris Martin) in 1905 who proposed it to Parliament.

How Daylight Saving Affects Your Sleep And How To Make it Easier To Adjust To

People generally don’t happily give up an hour of sleep, so if you’re feeling down about it, you’re not the only one.

Stuart Fogel, assistant professor psychology at the University of Ottawa, who studies sleep, says that experiments he’s running now are showing that otherwise healthy people, even when slightly sleep-deprived, have slower reaction times and are less able to concentrate.

According to Fogel, studies have shown that “there are increases in accidents, workplace, motor-vehicle accidents and the severity of them is greater following the time change.”

There are 5 stages we go through when we sleep. Stages 1-4 are ‘non-REM’ sleep and Stage 5 is ‘REM’ sleep.

Stage 1: Light Sleep – Eye movement and muscle activity slows. We drift in and out of sleep and you can easily be awakened.

Stage 2: Preparation for Deep Sleep – Eye movement stops and brain waves become slower with occasional bursts of activity. Heart rate slows and body temperature drops.

Stage 3: Beginning of Deep Sleep– Brain waves become extremely slow (called Delta waves). Some smaller faster waves. Stage where sleepwalking, nightmares, talking and bed wetting happen.

Stage 4: Continuation of Deep Sleep – Brain waves primarily Delta waves. We become disoriented if woken in this state.

Stage 5: Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Sleep – Brain waves mimic activity during the waking state. Eyes move rapidly from side-to-side. Intense dream and brain activity. Important for learning, memory, mood regulation and cognitive function.

When we sleep we go through various ‘sleep cycles’ where each cycle goes through the above stages. REM sleep dominates the latter part of our sleep. So, Fogel says, getting up an hour early means that you cut into that stage of sleep, and get less time to go through these mental processes. Although Fogel doesn’t think that losing an hour will affect your memory or mood regulation too much, he does think it will have an effect on your brain.

Here are some tips for adjusting to the new time:

  • go to bed 15 min earlier the previous four nights before the time change.
  • keep a consistent bedtime and wake time once the time has changed to allow your body to get used to the new routine
  • keep your room dark to prevent light from disturbing your sleep
  • drink a small cup of calming tea before bed
  • listen to meditative music before bed

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