Time Change 2014: How Daylight Savings Time Will Help Your Health

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While the weather may be taking its sweet time warming up, the first signs of spring are around the corner with daylight savings time beginning March 9.

This means we’ll be moving our clocks forward an hour at 2 a.m. Sunday. The change, as the name suggests, will lead to longer-lasting sunlight during the day. Most parts of Canada observe the change, but there are some exceptions such as the majority of Saskatchewan and some parts of B.C., Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Nunavut.

The time change is a welcome relief for those who’ve grown tired of cold winter days and leaving the office in the dark.

According to Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, many Canadians experience seasonal affective disorder in winter months. About 2-5 per cent suffer from severe seasonal depression, while up to 35 per cent deal with milder winter blues, which make it difficult to be positive.

As the days get longer, particularly after the time change, Dr. Anthony Levitt, a scientist at Sunnybrook Research Institute, says the effects of the disorder are likely to fade away. In an interview with the Huffington Post Canada, he added that the disorder usually begins in October and worsens in November when we revert to standard time.

This ends up being about five months a year, which Levitt says is a significant time for a person to feel depressed and unable to function to the best of their ability.

The time change also has some negative effects, such as the loss of an hour of precious Sunday morning sleep.

Although most Canadians overlook the one-hour time change, Dr. Adam Moscovitch, medical director of the Sleep and Fatigue Institute in Toronto and Calgary, says it can take up to a week for the body to adjust.

“People are not factoring it in, and don’t go to bed earlier,” he tells the Huffington Post Canada.

Moscovitch warns the lack of sleep can lead to higher chances of stroke, especially among the one-third of Canadians who already sleep less than six hours a night.

His advice, which is probably a pretty good habit to get into in general, is to get to bed earlier this weekend to avoid having a sleepy start to your week. Happy almost spring!

Check out these tips to find out how you can (almost) guarantee a better sleep:

Also on The Huffington Post

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