Don't be lulled into a false sense of security by that extra hour of sleep (or partying!) you're going to get when the clocks "fall back" into Pacific Standard Time this weekend.
Studies show that the autumn time change - which officially shifts clocks back to 1 a.m. from 2 a.m. on Sunday morning - is almost as bad for generating accidents on highways and roads and in homes and workplaces as the spring change to Daylight Saving Time, when an hour of sleep is lost.
It turns out that it's not so much the amount of sleep that's the culprit, as the time at which sleep occurs.
The time change changes the time at which we sleep, and that disrupts our Circadian rhythm, which throws our thought processes out of whack.
Ironically, farmers - for whom DST was initially instituted to save costs of working in the dark - knew right from the start that their livestock would not pay any attention to what an arbitrarily set clock might say. They generally continue to work their usual schedule - in tune with their clockless animals.
Saskatchewan also figured it out decades ago, doing away with switching times decades ago, effectively maintaining DST year round. In B.C., DST was extended in recent years, turning to PST later in the fall and shifting back to DST earlier in the spring.
Meanwhile, the rest of us need to be mindful of the added risk of a sudden change in our sleep cycle, coupled at this time of year with a sudden plunge into darkness for the afternoon commute.
Watch out for the other guy, who will be similarly handicapped. A
nd watch out for pedestrians and cyclists who may seem to come out of that unaccustomed darkness more suddenly than you expect.
It may be time to revisit the relationship between our clocks and an outmoded "daylight saving" concept. But in the meantime, just be careful.
@ Copyright 2013