Quirks & Quarks·Quirks' blog

Eight scientific reasons to ditch daylight time - and two to keep it

Daylight time is bad for us, and science suggests it makes sense to ditch it. Here are the eight reasons to get rid of daylight time - and two to keep it.

Daylight time is bad for us, and science suggests it makes sense to ditch it


Daylight saving time in Canada ends on Nov. 3, 2019 at 2 a.m. 

The original story, published in November 2018, runs below. 

In most of Canada this weekend we'll be setting our clocks back one hour, ending daylight time for 2018. Mercifully this is the "good" time shift, where we get an extra hour of sleep, not the "bad" one in the spring when we lose an hour.

But even so, some people think this is the time to end daylight time for good.

This year the European Union held their largest ever public consultation on the bi-annual clock change, and out of the 4.6 million people who responded, 84 per cent were fans of abolishing the practice, so it looks likely to be phased out next year, joining other daylight-ditchers like Argentina and Russia.


Several groups are petitioning the Canadian government to get rid of daylight time. Some jurisdictions already have — or never started in the first place. Saskatchewan doesn't make the switch. Neither do several other places scattered across the country, like Fort Nelson and the East Kootenay region in B.C. and Quebec's North Shore.

Daylight time was started as a way to maximize daylight and save electricity, but studies have long shown that the decrease in energy used for lighting is offset by the increase in energy used for air conditioning.


It seems like a small move - after all, what's just one hour? A lot can happen in an hour. We here at Quirks & Quarks put together a list of the top scientific studies that show the adverse effects of changing our clocks.

Here are the eight reasons to ditch daylight time - and two to keep it

  1. You are eight per cent more likely to have a stroke for two days after changing your clocks. 
  2. You are also 24 per cent more likely to have a heart attack the Monday after (and 21 per cent on the Tuesday)
  3. Suicide rates in men increase for two weeks after the clocks change.
  4. Judges give harsher legal sentences the day after switching to daylight time 
  5. Losing that hour of sleep increases workplace injuries, and the injuries themselves are much more severe.
  6. You're also more likely to get into a car crash. In fact, this researcher estimates that over the years, 30 fatalities have been caused by the time change.
  7. Daylight time can lead to a dramatic increase in 'cyberloafing.'
  8. In adolescents, it can take over a week to adjust to the change, losing an average of 32 minutes of sleep per night, which messes with their memory and reaction time.

Now in the interests of fairness, there are a couple of upsides to daylight time.

  1. Assaults actually decrease 3 per cent the Monday after daylight time starts.
  2. And robberies drop 7 per cent, saving society $59 million a year.

Enjoy your extra hour of sleep this weekend … you'll need it in the spring.




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