Lie-ins all round as clocks go back

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Should we get rid of clocks altogether? Brits enjoyed a later start yesterday as British Summer Time ended. But some people think living by the clock makes us stressed and unhappy.

What’s happening

Yesterday morning, everyone in Britain woke up in a different time zone from the day before. In the middle of the night, all the clocks went back one hour.

Strange as it sounds, it was not a surprising or unusual event. The changing of the clocks has been a part of life for over a century.

Find out more

American politician Benjamin Franklin first came up with the idea when he was in Paris in 1784. He suggested that if people got up earlier when it was lighter they would save on candles.

In 1916, the idea was officially introduced in Britain. Now, the UK’s clocks always go forward by one hour on in March to mark the start of British Summer Time (BST). They go back again on the last Sunday in October.

Lots of Brits think BST is a good thing because it makes the most of natural light. But others say changing the time is bad for us.

Some people argue that we should not follow clocks at all because following them makes us stressed. Last year, one town in Norway decided to get rid of them completely.

Should we follow its example?

Some say…

Yes! By living according to strict clocks, we are forcing our bodies into unnatural rhythms. There is nothing wrong with mowing the lawn at 3am or going to bed at midday. Life would be happier and less stressed if we trusted how we felt rather than always focussing on the clock.

Others think…

Of course not! It would make life much more difficult. We would not be able to make plans. Nobody would know when to go to school or work. Catching a bus or a train would become impossible. It might sound fun, but getting rid of clocks would make us much more stressed.

You Decide

  1. Do you like to be on time – or is it okay to be late sometimes?

Activities

  1. Use a paper plate, pins and some card to make your own clock. Move the hands around the clock face to make different times.

Some People Say...

“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”

William Shakespeare, English playwright

What do you think?

Word Watch

Time zone
A region in which all the clocks are set to the same time. The world is divided into 24 time zones. The time in each zone is one hour earlier than it is in the zone to its east.
Candles
Before electricity, people used candles and oil lamps to light their homes. Candle wax was expensive, so lots of people had to be careful not to use too many in the evenings. This meant sitting in darkness much of the time.
Officially
Another word for lawfully, or formally. This means the change that took place was approved by people who held important positions.
British Summer Time
The name given to the time zone after clocks go forward. When clocks go back to normal, Britain returns to Greenwich Mean Time, or GMT.
Bad for us
Our bodies work on rhythms called circadian rhythms. These are how your body regulates your 24-hour body clock. Changing the time can affect these, and some people argue it can be bad for health.
Norway
Sommarøy is in the far north of Norway. Throughout the summer months it is constantly light. In the winter, the sun never rises. The town chose to get rid of clocks because stress around the world is linked to “the feeling of being trapped by the clock”.
Unnatural
Something that is not normal, or natural. The prefix “un-” makes something negative.

Subjects

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