Singaporeans are lucky to be spared the annoying imposition of having to change all the household time pieces from the clock to the microwave oven ( except the computers which generally have automatic adjustments), twice a year because we are located almost on the equator and there is hardly any seasonal variation in the times of daylight hours. In the past this task was easy for us, with only one or two clocks in a house plus a few wrist watches, but now almost every appliance has a built-in clock that needs to be adjusted as well as clocks in cars. However, it is useful to know the many other countries change their clocks when they move from winter standard time to summer time. Especially, when you are in those countries that practice Daylight Saving Time (DST) and do not want to be caught short or miss your appointment.
Daylight Saving Time is the practice of advancing clocks one hour during the warmer months of the year and turn back an hour during the winter months.
Today is the dawning of daylight savings for another summer in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and the Australian Capital Territory and it will end on the first Sunday in April 2011.
Daylight saving can arouse strong passions because the institution of daylight saving time impacts in a fundamental way on the manner in which people lead their lives. This in turn means that there are many people who feel strongly on the issue and are vocal in their praise or criticism of daylight saving time and there are are numerous arguments for and against. The latter include the proverbial “it makes the curtains fade faster” while country people in the Australian outback sometimes have more serious objections as farm animals take their time from the Sun and not from clocks. Knowing our passion in food, it never seems to amaze me is this one question many of our vistors from Singapore always ask about Daylight Saving Time regards the time that restaurants and bars close. In many states, liquor cannot be served after 2 a.m. But at 2 a.m. in autumn, the time switches back one hour. So, why can't they serve for that additional hour in April? The debate goes on; the utter uselessness of having to defer summer sunsets to 10 pm and beyond. But on the other side of the coin, there still enough light to read your papers in the garden from having that extra hour of early evening daylight. In the winter, we do not
need it so much since we are indoors. Of course, there are a few expanded energy costs as a result since one will be looking towards turning lights on earlier in the evening in the winter due to the lack of sunlight but that is the common tradeoff. But if you are a bit cranky in the first few days, dont worry. According to Swinburne associate professor Greg Murray, who studies circadian rhythms in mood disorders, says the days and weeks after the changeover can create sleep problems as our bodies adjust to the change in the sleep-wake rhythm.
“Daylight saving is designed primarily to save energy by shifting human behaviours more towards the light phase of the day,” he said.
“But adjusting to the switch can cause sleep disturbances.
“On top of the chronic sleep deprivation that many people suffer, this additional loss of sleep appears to cause decreased alertness, concentration and mental performance.”
The professor says some studies show the sleep loss is to blame for the apparent increase in traffic accidents and heart attacks. A final note, especially with the change of Daylight Saving Time, it's a good time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors. Changing the batteries twice a year will make sure that the detectors will be working in case there is a fire.