This year, the clocks go forward on Sunday 26th March at 1 AM. This means we ‘lose’ an hour of sleep because we have skipped an hour of time. But, despite the change in sleep pattern and not knowing what time it is for at least a day, there are some good things to come out of this practice. We look at six things that will benefit you from daylight saving time.
1. It’s officially British Summer Time
Well, it might not always be sunny or hot. But when the clocks go forward, our time zone changes from GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) to BST (British Summer Time). Our country may not have the best reputation for summer, but at least we get to look forward to holidays and relaxation.
2. It’s lighter for longer
One of the biggest benefits of ‘springing forward’ is that we have lighter evenings. Won’t it be lovely knowing you can leave work with enough daylight to spend some time outside when you get home? This means that we can get more out of our day.
A study highlighted in The Mirror, showed an increase in children’s physical activity during early evening when the clocks were moved forward. 23,000 children were observed from countries all over the world. They reported, ‘The scientists found children’s total daily activity levels were up to 20% higher on summer days when the sun set after 9 pm than on winter days when darkness fell before 5 pm.’
3. It’s good for your health
More daylight means more sunlight. Our body produces Vitamin D when exposed to direct sunlight. This super vitamin has many important functions such as facilitating immune system function and regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorous. It is vital for having healthy teeth and bones and helps us remain healthy and fight diseases.
Without enough vitamin D, we can feel lethargic, weak and even depressed. Your body only needs 10 minutes of midday sun (without sunscreen) to produce enough for the day. However, it’s important not to stay in the sun too long without protection, as this can lead to sunburn. If it’s cloudy, top up your vitamin D by eating oily fish, mushrooms, milk and eggs.
4. You’ll naturally wake up
Waking up in the dark winter is hard. Not only because we don’t want to leave our cosy beds, but because our bodies don’t think it’s morning yet. Your circadian rhythm, or ‘body clock’, can be easily manipulated by natural light. Business Insider says this is because, ‘exposure to bright natural light via the sun tells your body that it’s daytime, which signals your brain to stop producing melatonin, the hormone that regulates your circadian rhythm’. Waking up with the sun is much nicer than waking up with an alarm clock blaring!
5. There are fewer road traffic accidents
We can’t put this fact entirely down to the clocks going forward, but it certainly helps. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) says, ‘Road casualty rates increase with the arrival of darker evenings and worsening weather conditions. Every autumn when the clocks go back, and sunset occurs earlier in the day, road casualties rise’. So, with better visibility and road conditions, driving in the evening is much safer during British Summer Time.
6. It saves energy
With one extra hour of daylight in the evening, we use less energy for both heating and lighting our homes. We can also rely a lot more on solar energy, which is far less harmful to the environment than fossil fuels. On summer evenings, people tend to spend time outside of the house. Going for walks, relaxing in the garden or dining ‘al fresco’ are all great ways to utilise your time. It also means you’re less likely to be using electricity or gas inside the house.
What’s your favourite thing about British Summer Time? Let us know in the comments!