Turn your clock back one hour!
Daylight Saving Time (DST) is over!
Daylight Saving Time happens every year. You may not notice it if you don’t have a mechanic clock or watch because your smartphone automatically changes on its own.
DST occurs annually. It’s a practice of setting the clock an hour forward in the spring and back again in autumn, lasts through the summer months, therefore it’s also called summer time in the UK.
This practice is usually applied in temperate or polar countries, where in the summer, the day starts earlier than in the winter by a few hours. It has the practical purpose of saving light energy, making the most of it by beginning work early in the day and sleeping early at night.
In the US and Canada, it lasts from the second Sunday of March to the first Sunday of November. And it’s just ended last Sunday, November 1.
Ancient civilizations did not fix their schedules to the clock like we do now. Instead they adjusted daily routines according to daylight. Daylight time was always divided into twelve hours regardless of daylight length, so that each hour would be longer in the summer.
During his time to France as an American envoy, Benjamin Franklin anonymously published a letter suggesting that Parisians could economize on candles by waking up early and making use of sunlight. He’s also known to have said: “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” However, despite common misconceptions, Franklin didn’t propose DST.
Modern DST was first proposed by George Hudson in 1895, a New Zealand entomologist (one who studies insects).
DST was first used by Germany during WWI, followed by Britain and France. The US officially applied DST in 1966.
However, most of the state of Arizona stopped observing DST.
DST doesn’t affect UTC or any time zones. Places switch to different time zones during their DST period and switch back after that. Meanwhile, places that don’t use DST keep their own fixed time zone. There are also parts of the world that tested DST for a while and stopped, for many different reasons.
Now that we have an idea of what DST is, is it necessary? For sure it was invented for a reason: to save daylight, so straightforward in its name. However, side effects are something that can’t be avoided.
I’ve never experienced or even heard of DST before I came to the U.S. Knowing about it is pretty interesting. To me, seeing the sun still up at 7 o’clock in the summer is super strange. And DST helps explain that because the real time would be only 6 pm.
Sometimes it feels complicated to know if you have to turn your clock forward or backward. There’s a saying “spring forward, fall backward” which I found interesting.
The best thing about DST to me is when you set your clock back to normal in autumn, you get one extra hour to sleep. That’s definitely the best feeling ever! Waking up you think that it’s supposed to be 8 am, and your phone shows 7 am!
However, in spring, it’d be the other way, and you lose one hour to rest. Personally, I don’t think it has any bad effects on my routine or biological clock though.
With DST, people get up when there’s sunlight and go to bed when it’s over, which is naturally compatible. We make the most of daylight, which helps enforce many working activities and everything flows more efficiently. But this works only in theory.
In fact, there have been many protests on the use of DST. The protest group We Don’t Need Daylight Saving Time claims that “it has no purpose in this age,” and points out that “14 countries have stopped using it since 21st century.”
Countries close to the equator doesn’t have that much of a difference between day and night time. Therefore, DST won’t make any significant change the in hours which humans are exposed to sunlight.
Sources from several journals pointed out the bad sides of DST for causing more energy use instead of cutting it. Evidence from a National Bureau of Economic Research experiment suggested that: “Our main finding is that—contrary to the policy’s intent—DST increases residential electricity demand.”
The research contends that “Changing the clocks an hour ahead for daylight saving time doesn’t just cost us sleep—it might also be costing the American economy as much as $434 million.” These results are according to the new index, which is developed by Chmura Economics & Analytics, based on several past researches published in New England Journal of Medicine and Journal of Applied Psychology.
Furthermore, studies also prove that DST causes a rise in heart attacks, depression and suicide rates. An article in Sleep and Biological Rhythms, volume 6, states that “large disruptions of chronobiological rhythms are documented as destabilizing individuals with bipolar disorder.”
Though Daylight Saving Time continues to be a part of the United States’ yearly routine, it’s worth questioning whether the practice is worth its costs.