Shifting of Clocks: To Keep or to Discard?

Two periods in every year bring with them a notable change in our timing of doing things. When clocks move forward or backwards to accommodate the Daylight Saving Time (DST) model, people find themselves having to adjust their schedule of most activities; leaving and reporting to work, sleeping and waking up, attending sporting events etc.

Every other year, the first response to the shift of clocks is a good dose of grumbles. You see, time does not really change, it is our perception that changes. If you wake up at 7 am today, then clocks shift two hours ahead within the day, waking up again 24 hours later will see you rouse at 9 am. You definitely won’t have slept longer, but you wake up later. So, logically, the grumbles have a point.

But really, how beneficial is the shifting of clocks today? There are arguments for and against the system. These are wide-ranging, touching on health topics (, economic issues and social matters among many others.

Origin of Clock Adjustment

The DST model was first adopted by Germany slightly over a century ago. The aim was to increase periods of productivity, by matching lighter hours with economic activity. The seemingly productive model was adopted a little later by countries like Britain, France and America, and have taken root since then. America actually increased the length of DST use, to eight months a year recently.

But, is the system as viable today as it was a century ago? Proponents say, that besides allowing more time for productivity, the system also allows people to rest up during dark hours, which results in a healthier society. They say that without clock adjustment, workers end up at work during hours of darkness or in bed during lighter hours. In these dark hours, they produce the sleep hormone melatonin, which makes them less productive, and more susceptible to workplace accidents. Again, being in bed during light hours results in low melatonin production, the result of which is lower quality sleep, and consequently poor health.

Those opposed to this system, say it offers little more than pure confusion, and state that in this age of 24-hour power driven economies, people’s work and rest hours are determined more by the nature of their shifts, rather than the time reading on the clock. Many countries, they say, have existed without DST all along. Also, countries on extreme ends of each hemisphere, at times experience multiple days of light or darkness but are still doing just fine. They say that turning off lights saves little energy when we still have to condition our houses.

There are undoubtedly strong arguments on each side, but it appears like more and more countries will cease to adjust their clocks in future. Whatever you do, just ensure you have a beneficial personal time management plan.

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