As it stands an increase in the number of hours spent in darkness can lead to conditions such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) as well causing a significant reduction in physical activity therefore leading to a heightened risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Senior academic Dr Mayer Hillman has suggested that a move to double summer time by not putting the clocks back at the end of October, but still putting them forward in the spring, would vastly improve our health and well-being.
This would mean that the UK would be one hour ahead of GMT throughout the winter and two hours ahead in the summer, a move which has previously failed in the past in the face of arguments that farmers, postal workers and milkmen need lighter mornings and some parts of England such as Scotland, would be much darker than others.
In the most recent edition of the British Medical Journal (BMJ), Hillman writes, “Research has shown that people are happier, more energetic, and less likely to be sick in the longer and brighter days of summer, whereas their mood tends to decline – and anxious and depressive states to intensify – during the shorter and duller days of winter.”
In addition, the move would also lead to a 0.7 per cent cut in deaths and serious injuries on Scotland’s roads and boost its tourist industry by £300 million with the generation of an extra 7,000 jobs.