Lifestyle & Culture

Move it on back!

From disruptions to our daily life routines and natural circadian rhythms, to fatal fears and fading curtains. Saskia Whitney dives into the meaning of daylight savings.

Is there anything worse than waking up in the morning and it’s still dark out? Well, you’ve got daylight savings to blame.

At 3am this Sunday, 4 April, Australians in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, and Norfolk Island (introduced in 2019) will wind their clocks back 1 hour as we head out of summer and into the cooler months. On the plus side, your Easter long weekend just got a little longer…well, by 1 hour. But still, we’ll take what we can get, right?

The idea behind daylight savings time goes back to 1917, just after the first world war, as a nation-wide energy-saving technique was introduced with the hypothesis of a reduction to artificial lighting use. With over 70 countries practicing daylight savings time, this bi-annual ‘chore’ has attracted copious studies which examine its’ impact on the human condition.

Once perceived to encourage heightened efficiency, new insight has suggested the opposite, with trends hinting toward an increase in societal costs. Brief but reliable statistics demonstrate increased rates of heart attacks, strokes, and workplace injuries in the week following the shift.

It’s controversial, no doubt. With more excuses than you can poke a stick at, daylight savings has copped it all. Some legitimate and some laughable. The most common being its evident disruption to our body’s natural rhythms, I mean, of course we’re throwing a time curveball at it and asking it to catch, what else do you expect?

On the other end of the spectrum, we have the rationale from a late Queensland M.P, who justified their exclusion to the time shift, as being due to the fact that an added hour of daylight will cause curtains to fade. Oh yes, you read correctly. Let’s forget the health impacts for a second and instead concern ourselves with the discolouration of our loungeroom drapes. On the same wavelength was founder, Benjamin Franklin, who suspected by not transitioning forward an hour, and optimising natural light, people were to waste more candles and employ artificial light as the day grew on.

Our modernising society affords us the technology to create economically friendly, energy-efficient, and time-saving systems, so do we really need to alter our entire lives, or can we just simply set an alarm?

Either way, whether you believe in time travel or not, if you’re in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, or Norfolk Island, change your clock back this Sunday!

Feature image by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels, image cropped.

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