From the desk of Roland Rocchiccioli – 6 November
It is sheer madness for a country which is bathed in such brilliant, endless sunshine, and vast, azure skies, to implement daylight saving. It defies logic!
ANYONE who has lived in Europe – specifically London – will recall how, in mid-winter, you set-off work in the dark, and you return home in the dark. There is daylight for only a few hours. It is most depressing; however, that is definitely not the case in Australia, even for Ballarat, which has less sunshine than most regional cities.
Wisely, Perth which has 3200 hours of sunlight annually, does not have daylight saving. Melbourne has 2200 hours, and which is the least of all our capital cities.
No doubt, weather professionals, meteorologists, and environmental scientists will capably provide all the required arguments supporting daylight saving. For those who want it, no explanation is necessary; for those opposed, no explanation is possible.
According to Oliver Rawashdeh, lecturer in biomedical sciences at The University of Queensland, altering our clocks causes a temporary state of misalignment in our internal biological time. While we may not want to go to bed an hour earlier our alarms will wake us before we’ve had enough sleep.
Also, the alternation in time affects the body’s production of melatonin, the hormone produced in darkness; and cortisol, the stress hormone. These two chemical substances help regulate our systems. They tell us when we need to sleep, need to eat, and our enable our ability to fight-off bugs.
This metabolic misalignment is a form of jetlag, and can upset the body’s rhythms. Additionally, it can affect our ability to think clearly; and increase the risk of heart attacks and depression. Not all GPs agree.
More prosaically, while daylight saving does not increase the hours of sunlight – nor does not fade the kitchen curtains – it does provide an opportunity for us to spend more time in the sun, particularly children. According to reliable cancer websites, melanoma of the skin is the result of a combination of factors, including environmental and genetic factors, and, doctors believe, exposure to ultraviolet, or UV, radiation from the sun.
Australia records some of the highest levels of UV radiation in the world – in fact, the continent’s UV radiation is strong enough to cause sunburn in as little as eleven minutes on a fine summer day. Conversely, UV radiation from the sun is also one of the best natural sources for vitamin D, so a balance is important. That balance of absorption is not increased or lessened by daylight saving.
The negative effects of daylight saving are meticulously documented on numerous trustworthy and specialist websites. The multifarious moderate and specialist conclusions are extremely interesting, and most unexpected. The German and Danish research is particularly revealing, and deserving of respect. Given the scientific conclusions, there is argument, an expert consideration group might find cause to recommend a change in the current practice.
I have not changed my bedroom clock, and I retire and rise accordingly. The clocks throughout the cottage – all of which have been altered – are irrelevant. For the next six-months, excepting for appointments, I operate on CBT – cottage bedroom time!
By the way: It is daylight saving, and not daylight savings!
Savings refers to any money which a person has left-over after subtracting their consumer spending from disposable income. In more affluent times we kept it in a Commonwealth Savings Bank passbook. Remember? Those were the days…
Saving refers to an activity occurring over a period time. Daylight saving!
Roland can be contacted via [email protected].