Year on year, we’ve become accustomed to the fact that the clocks ‘fall back’ in October, but why exactly is this? Maybe the person who started doing this just wanted an extra hour in bed (praise the clever clogs!), but there is actually a perfect reason why we time travel year on year.
History behind British Summer Time
The idea was first brought to light by Benjamin Franklin in 1784 who suggested that if people got up earlier they would benefit from using less candles. Only in 1916 was it formally introduced in the UK after Coldplay’s singer Chris Martin’s great-great grandfather, William Willet, supported the idea - all because he wanted to play golf for longer in the evening!
Thanks to electricity and outdoor lighting, candles are no longer needed and outdoor activities are more accessible in the evening, so if this would have been the case all those years ago, would the clocks going back be a known thing to man? We’ll never know, but that’s an interesting thought.
According to a recent social media poll we created, 59% of people look forward to the clocks going back because it means an extra hour in bed, whereas 41% aren’t thrilled by the idea because it means darker evenings are upon us. This coincides with the fact that 51% of people voted that they love dark evenings, whereas 49% hate them. Surely this suggests we in the UK are pro the clocks going back? Either way try going to bed an hour earlier would work wonders for health and getting better sleep!
What do people do when the clocks go back now?
While the clocks going back have their legitimate reasons, do we act on the principle legitimately now? Our social media poll found that 84% of people used the extra hour to sleep. Maybe that means that humans have lost interest in golf…or that people have found comfort in their OTTY mattress and struggle to leave it!
Nevertheless, naturally humans have become ‘workaholics’, with research linking this to increased stress levels and therefore, poorer sleep quality. It then seems logical to suggest that people grab the opportunity to sleep for longer when they can - maybe this is why people choose to spend their extra hour asleep?
Why your internal body clock is important
From our social media polls, 48% of people didn’t know what a circadian rhythm is, which is concerning considering it is part of your very own body clock. For those that don’t know, the circadian rhythm is the body's natural 24 hour cycle that helps you function on a day to day basis. One of the most important circadian rhythms is the sleep-wake cycle. Essentially, this tells you when you should wake and sleep by considering external stimuli; light and dark.
Whilst naturally, this considers the earth's sunlight, the modern world has left humans exposed to increased amounts of light via electronic devices such as; televisions, computers and mobile phones, which all omit artificial light. Via a cell in the eye called melanopsin, the human body clock receives signals of this light which can therefore delay the production of a sleep hormone called melatonin. As a result, the human body clock becomes skew-whiff and you might struggle to get to sleep at night or wake more often once you do get to sleep. This is why sleep experts advise that you take a break from your electronic devices, especially before bedtime. After all, sleep helps you feel refreshed for the next day and most definitely a good way to get better sleep.
Why is sleep a key factor to consider in time?
Think about your day to day routine - does it involve sleep? Of course it does! For the most part, people part ways with daylight and welcome the comfort of their bed for a decent 7-9 hours of shut eye when the moon rises in the sky.
In fact, in our social media survey, out of 120 people, 109 stated that they value their sleep a lot, with 109 (out of 113) valuing the comfort of their bedroom a lot too. Though the clocks going back may knock you out of sorts for a short period of time, with longer bouts of darkness outdoors, it’s still important that you practice a strict routine that allows you to get optimal sleep, which shouldn’t be a problem if the majority of you value your sleep. By following a routine, your body clock becomes accustomed to your usual ways which means that you should find yourself drifting into sleep easier than if you didn’t have a routine. Regular routine will lead to a better nights sleep.
Take a look at our blog post here which provides you with tips and tricks to getting better sleep throughout the winter months.