An independent MLA is once again championing the abolishment of daylight saving time in the province.
Emerson MLA Cliff Graydon says he has 500 signatures on a petition to end DST, which takes place this weekend as we spring forward.
Graydon says a lot has changed since World War I when DST was introduced in the province. Now, Graydon says there’s a spike in traffic accidents, heart attacks and an increase in depression during the week after the time change.
He believes that scrapping it altogether would lessen the burden on the health-care system, on Manitoba Public Insurance, and the education system by disruption the sleep of students.
“We know people make mistakes, not only driving but at work and those mistakes are often more costly when their routines are upset,” Graydon said. “It takes four-to-five days to adjust. We think it doesn’t bother us, but it does. It takes time to adjust.”
In January, Graydon launched stoptheswitch.ca, a website that supports Bill 205, which proposes to end DST.
“There’s no cost to this,” Graydon said.
Dr. Julie Carrier, a sleep expert at the Centre for Advanced Research in Sleep Medicine in Montreal, said the issue is less about DST — which she said is more akin to recovering from an hours’ difference in jet lag when travelling — and more about an overarching issue in Canada when it comes to sleep deprivation.
The effects of the time change brought on by DST can be mitigated by something as small as going to bed 15 minutes earlier for a few nights prior to the time change.
“You can train your body,” Carrier said. “If you start two to three days before the time change, it should be no problem.”
Carrier says getting as much light as you can around this time of year will also help your body’s biological clock to adjust.
“You can help by waking up a bit earlier and turning on all the lights on in the morning,” she said. “It helps to tell your biological clock that it’s the morning.”
In terms of sleep, she says adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep.
“That’s seven-to-nine hours per day, not on average,” she said.
Saskatchewan, along with parts of several other provinces do not change their clocks, along with several states in the U.S.
On Monday, the European Parliament committee voted 23 to 11 to scrap the time change in the European Union in 2021.
Graydon, meanwhile, says he’ll be bringing forward his petition in the house as often as he can when the house returns this week.