Daylight saving: why do we and don't we do it?

Prepare to wind your clocks forward for daylight saving. Picture: iStockSource:istock
Prepare to wind your clocks forward for daylight saving. Picture: iStockSource:istock

LOVE it or loathe it, once again daylight saving time is upon us. As summer draws nearer and the days get longer, it's time to move our clocks forward an hour as we "spring into spring".

On Sunday, 1 October when local standard time reaches 2am, clocks should be turned forward one hour to 3am. This change means that sunrise and sunset will be an hour later, and Australians (except those in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia) will have more light to play with in the evenings.

But why do we do it? It is widely believed that Benjamin Franklin was the first to suggest the idea of daylight savings, way back in 1784, as a way for people to save costs by reducing their candle usage - however he proposed that people change their sleep patterns rather than the clock.

It wasn't until World War I that daylight savings as we know it really took off. Germany was the first country to implement it in 1916 as a way to cut fuel usage during the war, and other countries quickly followed suit. It proved to be so successful that it was implemented again in World War II.

In 1968 Tasmania became the first Australian state to adopt daylight savings, with the majority of other states doing the same in 1971. Queensland abandoned its daylight saving time a year later.

In NSW, a referendum was held on 1 May, 1976, asking electors if daylight saving should be adopted permanently.

According to a NSW Department of Justice website, 1,882,770 electors were in favour; while 868,900 were against.

Western Australia on the other hand has held four referendums on the matter since 1975, however it is yet to pass.

The no vote tends to be stronger in regional and rural areas, as changing the clocks causes big problem for farmers.

If you need help adjusting to your new sleep schedule, simple tricks such as making the bedroom as bright as possible when you wake up and avoiding caffeine before bed should help.

Before you go to bed, it's a good idea to check if your smartphone's clock is set to change automatically. If it is, you won't need to worry about your alarm going off at the wrong time on Sunday morning.

Topics:  australia daylight savings editors picks

News Corp Australia

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