By Joe Harker
Time is an odd concept. While we appear to have a handle on the whole thing there is the strangeness of daylight saving time. Although most believe it was introduced to help farmers that is apparently a myth. In its modern from it has been in use for around a century and about 40 per cent of countries in the world use it, though several ancient civilisations had a similar system.
The European Union may be less than happy about the idea, as they have ordered a review that could see the end of putting the clocks forwards and backwards in its member nations. Supporters of daylight saving time say it saves energy and reduces traffic accidents, but opponents believe it causes health problems.
One big criticism of daylight saving time is the potential health problems that can be caused. Dividing the year into summer and winter time can be confusing and annoying as it takes some time to adjust the daily routine, but a study found that the stroke rate was eight per cent higher in the two days after the time adjustment and may also play a part in a higher risk of heart attacks. The heath risks may come from sleep deprivation associated with disrupted sleep patterns. If daylight saving disrupts the body's rhythm then it can cause problems.
However, there are others who still support the idea. It brings in months worth of days with more sunlight, and seemingly helps bring down crime too. It may be an odd concept but there were reasons it was introduced and they may still outweigh the arguments for scrapping it. There may be a few days of difficulty as people adjust to everything being an hour earlier or later than it used to be, but the benefit of several months where there is more light in the day is a strong reason for keeping it.
Then again, plenty of countries have done better after scrapping it and picking the time that works best for them. Some countries have switched to one time all year round, with Russia permanently on winter time after a failed experiment with summer time, whereas Turkey has summer time all year round as it was judged to be a better use of daylight and the changes were causing confusion.
Perhaps the EU will decide on setting the clocks one way and keep it like that, or perhaps they'll stick to daylight saving time with all the problems and advantages it brings.