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Is Daylight Savings Bad?

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

Daylight Saving Time, or British Summer Time as it is know here in the UK, has always posed a problem...especially in modern times...and I always feel it creates more problems than it solves.


I'm going to suggest in todays post pandemic world it is meaningless, not always good for us and maybe should be scrapped.


Before I get to that lets explore how British Summer Time came to be and the pros and cons of using it.


What Is Daylight Saving Time?

According to Wiki...

Daylight saving time (DST), also known as daylight savings time or daylight time, and summer time, is the practice of advancing clocks (typically by one hour) during warmer months so that darkness falls at a later clock time. The typical implementation of DST is to set clocks forward by one hour in the spring and set clocks back by one hour in autumn to return to standard time. As a result, there is one 23-hour day in late winter or early spring and one 25-hour day in the autumn.

British Summer Time...

During British Summer Time (BST), civil time in the United Kingdom is advanced one hour forward of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), in effect changing the time zone from UTC+00:00 to UTC+01:00, so that mornings have one hour less daylight, and evenings one hour more.

Essentially Daylight Saving Time was devised to maximise the amount of natural daylight during the day.


It has a long and complicated past...more so than people realise. It was first suggested by the American inventor Benjamin Franklin in 1784 to 'conserve candles' but it wasn't thought of seriously until around 1985 when in New Zealand entomologist George Hudson proposed a two hour change, mainly it seems so he would have more daylight to enable him to collect and examine insects. In 1916 Gremany became the first country to officially implement Daylight Saving Time on a national scale.


It has had many incarnations across the globe and is not always an hour, Lord Howe Island, Austrailia adjusts their daylight saving by only 30 minutes. Many countries have implemented the practice in their past on and off but it is mainly currently used by those where sunset and sunrise can differ significantly throughout the year - in other words the furthur away from the equator the more likely the country is to use daylight saving time, most countires on or near the equator don't bother with the practice as it unecassary.


Why Do We Still Use Daylight Saving Time?

The United Kingdom adopted the practice just weeks after Germany in 1016 in an effort to 'save energy and help the war effort' the Summer Time Act of 1916 was born. It proved so popular it was kept and renamed British Summer Time.


During World War Two and the fuel shortages of 1947 we even had Double British Summer Time that actually put us 2 hours ahead of standard time.


We have also had 3 years of summer time. In an experimant that was known as British Standard Time, from 1968 to 1971 the UK kept British Summer Time hours permanently but, especially in the north of the country, it proved to be very unpopular and was scraped.


So that's where we are now.


Grenwich Mean Time during the winter months and British Summer Time during the summer months.


Pro's

  1. The first is the obvious - you get more hours of actual daylight during especially during the evening.

  2. Crime rates drop.

  3. It reduces energy consumption.

  4. It reduces traffic accidents.



Con's

  1. It can have a negative impact on your health, and mental health, as you have to change your natural circadian rhythm.

  2. It can reduce productivity due to employee tiredness.

  3. It costs money - not just in time and effort in making sure clocks are correct but also in lost time and wages when people forget and are late.


How does Daylight Saving Time Affect You?

It's not neccassarily Daylight Saving Time itself that can be a problem but a return to Grenwich Mean Time in the winter months that can, according to some reports, lead to a decline in metal health. An increase in things like depression and SAD is reported and very believeable, these disorders are effected by changes to our circadian rhythm which are caused by the changes in seasons and amount of daylight available, so it stands to reason the change in hour also has an adverse effect. The fact that a common SAD coping mechanism is to ensure you go to bed and get up at the same time every day means the change in hour is definiately going to have an impact.


Exercise - the colder, darker, earlier nights have an impact on our motivation and our willingness to go back out in an evening after coming in from work. The shorter days means even with the change in hour the mornings before work or school are still dark so getting up an hour earlier to do it before you start your day can be just as hard. Just like me in the evening on hour adjustment isn't enough to make it light at 6am for a run before breakfast!


So back to the main question...


Should Daylight Saving Time Be Scrapped?

To answer that question I need to first tell you how it effects me personally and my family.


I find changing the hour very stressful and it often creates more havoc in my life and family than it solves. Back when I first moved in with my husband before we got a new oven he no longer had the instructions and didn't know how to change the time so I literally had to wait 6 months for it to be correct again. That often gave me quite a bit of anxiety having to always caluclate in my head what time it was to ensure I wasn't going to be late. I know now how to change the car and my current oven clocks but it's finding the time to do so. At the time of writing this blog I'm not using the car very much as my studio is in my back garden so I have changed the oven but have yet to do the car. I have a few moments of confusion when I either think I'm late or early for something before I remember I haven't changed it yet when I do get in the car to go somewhere. It probably causes more confusion because I'm dyslexic and struggle with telling the time especially with a clock face or 24hr digital clock.


I case you didn't know much about dyslexia there's more to it than an inability to read...in fact I read very very well and throughout my school years read far above my actual age. A full description is perhaps for another time but the quick version is I live my life in pictures, with a little bit of photo sensitivity, a terrible memory, very bad time keeping and, probably most importantly for this blog, I'm perpeptually tired. Changing the clocks forward is exhausting for me, but I'm also still extra tired with the clocks going back even with the extra hour due to the shock to my system for a good few weeks afterwards.


Then lets look at my job. I'm a dance, fitness and Pilates expert. I mainly work evenings. Always have done and propably always will. In winter I go to work in the dark and come home in the dark even with the later sunset it's not enough so I get to walk to the school hall for my 5.30 pm class in the daylight, we'd have to go back to Double Summer Time or more foir that to happen. This sometimes makes me feel that it only really helps those with more traditional working hours and lets face it who has that these days?!?


Then there's the kids. I have a six year old and a three year old. For them there's no such thing as an extra hour in bed, certainly not whilst they are at home. By happy concidence I managed to arrange a sleep over this year with grandparents, and would you know it the extra hour exists in Brierfield! The lost hour is absolute torture. Have you ever tried to wake a sleeping toddler? It's soooo not my favourite thing to do.


Another argument for the practice to be scrapped is that this last change could also be the last time that the European Union has to adjust their clocks as the European Comission moves to scrap the practice. However depsite having the backing of the European Parliment the proposal has been waiting since 2019 for approval from the Council of the European Union so that it can be implemented. The United Kingdon is no long part of the EU but it is felt we should follow their lead as to avoid being on different times with the EU countries to facilite business and trade.


Conclusion

To sum up I definately think I could live without the change, without the unheavel, without the confusion and most definately without the faff and after asking my Pilates ladies at tonights class so could they. But we were all very surprised to learn that the previous experiment was unsuccessful as it we felt it was a common opinion that the changing of the clocks is an archaic, defunct practice and unnecassary these days, so even though we live in the north west of the country maybe we are not indicative of the opinion of United Kingdom as a whole. I feel it is worth noting however, that the experiment took place 50 years ago and the world is so much different now.


As to wether permenant British Summer Time or Standard Time would be best I think I will leave that up to the experts though I lean towards permenant Summer Time.


In the mean time does anyone know what date the clocks go back? The kids are asking for another sleep over so I'm getting them booked in...


VFJ Pilates can help with a few of the problems that winter a Grenwich Mean Time bring. We offer live online and online on demand exercise soplutions that mean you don't have to leave the comfort of your own living room. Session are generally 30 minutes in length meaning you don't have to find a lot of space in your day to fit us in! See here for all the various services we provide from online memberships to 1-2-1 sessions to 6 week programmes.


Lastly as far as I can find out, using the wonder that is Google, at this moment in time the United Kingdom has 'no plans' to make any changes to end Birtish Summer Time and scrap the 1916 Summer Time Act.


So who's with me to petition parliment?!?


Victoria xx


P.S. I'm just joking about the petition...if changing the clocks is too much faff, organising a petition is defo a no go!


Sources:


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