Takes longer to adjust to standard time, but it's better for your health: Sleep expert
A sleeping man is seen this stock image.
OTTAWA -- As Ottawa residents get set to fall back this weekend, a sleep expert suggests the move to standard time will actually be better for your health.
Sleep and fatigue specialist Clint Marquardt adds it will take you longer to adjust to the arrival of standard time on Sunday because our bodies are slower to adjust when we fall back.
Daylight saving time ends at 2 a.m. Sunday, and the clocks turn back one-hour in Ontario, Quebec and most of Canada.
During on appearance on Newstalk 580 CFRA's "The Goods" Saturday morning, host Dahlia Kurtz asked Marquardt, which is better for the human body and our health – standard time or daylight saving time.
"The human body and sleep is really intimately linked to light and the best type of light exposure is light exposure in the early morning hours," said Marquardt.
"I'm talking about getting light when you wake up, like 6, 7 o'clock in the morning. So maintaining time on standard time, which is what we're going to, would be much more helpful biologically."
The switch to standard time means it will get lighter earlier in the morning and darker earlier in the evening.
"Light at the end of the day can actually disrupt your sleep. So in the summertime, light until 9, 10 o'clock at night, that's not really the greatest for your sleep. So if we could stay on standard time that would be the best," said Marquardt.
Marquardt notes while it may be frustrating that it is dark when you finish work during standard time, it will actually help you sleep better.
"It is a better thing to have darkness at the later portion of the day, especially at night. It helps your brain tune in and start getting into sleep mode," said Marquardt.
"No light or the removing of light actually helps produce melatonin in your brain, which is what you want in your brain. It helps you sleep."
Sleep expert Alanna McGinn told CTV's Your Morning this week that the fall time change can result in increased cases of depression due to less sunlight hours..
With clocks set to go back one-hour on Sunday morning, Marquardt recommends adjusting to the time change slowly.
"If we got the luxury of adapting our behaviours, adapting our start times, because a lot of us are actually working from home, it will be great if you could move your clock back 15 minutes per day until you end up at the fall back time, the one hour earlier" said Marquardt about adjusting to the time change slowly on Sunday..
"The challenge here is that it takes longer to adjust to counter-clockwise or falling back, or travelling east, so it's much easier to go with the clock, biologically more difficult to go backwards. So if you take a longer period of time to adjust, that can help."
Professional infant and toddler sleep consultant Erin Junker told CTVNewsOttawa.ca that the time change will be tough on both children and adults, and it will take everyone a few days for their body clocks to adjust.
"We are all a little bit off, kind of a little bit crankier as our body clocks are adjusting, but usually within a few days to a week we're all back on track."
Marquardt tells Newstalk 580 CFRA's The Goods that research shows the COVID-19 pandemic is causing a rise in stress, which increases anxiety and makes it more difficult to sleep. He says the time change could cause additional challenges for people heading into the winter.
"One of the things you can do to help yourself is to try and get the best possible sleep you can, and one way of doing that is look at your daytime activities," said Marquardt.
"One great way to do it is to ensure you're getting enough bright light exposure during the day to essentially tell your brain that day is day and night is night."
Marquardt suggests 12 p.m. is the perfect time to get a blast of sunlight. He also recommends investing in a sun lamp, or "Happy Light", to increase exposure to light and help address seasonal affective disorder.
Ottawa West-Nepean MPP Jeremy Roberts has introduced the Time Amendment Act, which would implement permanent daylight saving time in Ontario.
With files from CTVNews.ca writer Alexandra Mae Jones and CTV News Toronto's Sean Davidson