Getting old, Journalism, Parenting, Rant

Should we stop altering the clocks?

FullSizeRenderIn my younger days I used to love the end of British Summer Time (BST), especially if I happened to be working that weekend – putting the clocks back meant an extra hour to snuggle in my warm bed.

I haven’t slept a full night in that same bed for 18 months and someone forgot to clue the toddler in on the fact she was supposed to sleep for an hour longer so today instead of getting up at 4.45am we were up at 3.45am.

However, even before I became a mum, I was having doubts about this “flawed ritual”, as someone described it.

Here are my five reasons:

1. Time moves on: While the UK has trialled a number of different schemes, the current system of altering our clocks, forward in March and back in October, has been in place since 1972 – that’s older than I am. The world is very different now and I would argue many of the reasons it was put in place then are not valid now. For example, “farmers need lighter mornings”. Maybe they did then but surely more modern farming practices mean that is no longer the case in most respects?

2. General wellbeing: I remember some days when I worked full time, leaving for the office in the dark and coming home in the dark too. I was miserable and I’m sure this was why.  An extra hour of light in the evening would give everyone time to enjoy being outdoors a little more. While the October change is more welcome than the March one, I think it just messes up us.

3. Modern technology: There is Black Magic at work in our house because miraculously some of our clocks change themselves to the right time while others don’t. This means I spend several days unsure of what the actual time is.

4. Environment: This is a big one for me. It gets darker earlier which means we need more energy to light and heat our homes and offices. One study has claimed reverting to Greenwich MeanTime (GMT) costs a typical household almost £24 extra a year (and that’s without thinking about the extra carbon emissions we can’t afford either).

5. Health and Crime. Studies have shown lighter evenings reduce traffic accidents – latest estimates say 100 lives a year could be saved – and also crime, most of which is committed during the hours of darkness.

Am I alone in this? What do you think?


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