More proof daylight saving sucks

Daylight saving ends next month. Picture: Tracey White

DAYLIGHT saving sucks.

The case for messing around with the clocks twice a year has always been pretty weak, and new research is increasingly supporting the view that it’s time to ditch daylight saving once and for all.

Not only is daylight saving harmful to our health, being linked to increased risk of stroke and heart attack, but it also costs us money, Bloomberg reports.

One of the popular arguments promoted by business groups is that it helps stimulate consumer spending. But an analysis of 380 million bank and credit card transactions by US bank JPMorgan Chase has poured cold water on that theory.

The study compared data from Los Angeles, California, which changes its clocks in March and November, with data from Phoenix, Arizona, one of only two US states that doesn’t do daylight savings.

It found that while the extra hour of daylight in the spring slightly boosted card spending per person — less than 1 per cent — the negative impact of the shift back wiped out the benefit, with Los Angeles residents spending 3.5 per cent less after the November change.

Shoppers made far fewer trips to the store during the week, with grocery, discount and other retailers bearing the brunt. Restaurants and other service businesses were largely unaffected.

The theory is that daylight seems to be a large factor in whether people stop at stores on their way home from work.

“At the end of the day, it’s either dark or light, and [people are] going to make an impulse decision at that point,” JPMorgan Chase Institute chief executive Diana Farrell told Bloomberg.

She said another possible explanation was that people did more of their shopping online.

In Australia, the clocks will go backwards at 3am on Sunday, April 2, giving everyone an extra hour’s sleep and putting an end to the “five timezone terror” — until they go forward again on Sunday, October 1.

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