Daylight Saving Time (abbreviated DST), is a relatively new practice in history where we move the clocks forward one hour in the Spring (known as “Spring Forward”) and move our clocks back one hour in the Fall (known as “Fall Back”).
About 40% of the US Population misspells Daylight Saving Time. It’s Daylight “Saving” Time, not Daylight “Savings” Time, nor is it “Daylights” Saving Time. No “s”is used anywhere in the proper spelling.
In the United States, Daylight Saving Time: Begins with “Spring Forward” on the second Sunday in March where the clocks are moved forward 1 hour and Ends on the first Sunday in November with “Fall Back” where the clocks are moved back 1 hour.
As recently as 2005, Daylight Saving Time used to end on the last Sunday in October. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 changed the end of Daylight Saving Time to the first Sunday in November to provide extra daylight for the tradition of trick-or-treating on Halloween, October 31st.
The origins of Daylight Saving Time is an interesting tale. Because it didn’t start with a single decree by a large country, it’s exact origin, birth date and founder has been up for debate for a long time. The Complete and Bizarre History of Daylight Saving Time is a great read.
There are currently close to 70 countries that acknowledge and use Daylight Saving Time. Practically all of North America and Europe observe Daylight Saving Time. In Oceania, it’s use is prevalent, but not a majority. Parts of South America and the Middle East do, but definitely in the minority there. Almost all of Africa and Asia do not, and many in those regions either never did, or they no longer follow Daylight Saving Time.
Daylight Saving Time lasts for 6 to 9 months, depending on the country that you live in. In the United States of America, Daylight Saving Time starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November, which is just about 7-1/2 months long.
Since smoke detector batteries should be changed twice a year, our twice annual ritual of changing the time is a nice reminder to also do this important task that is easy to forget. The Sunday of Daylight Saving Time is a great day to change your smoke detector batteries.
All that changes is when the sun rises and sets on our clocks. The day does not truly get longer or shorter. The earth still takes 24 hour to spin on it’s axis, not matter what act of Congress requires on our clock setting. (Actually, slightly more than 24 hours, which is why we have leap year every 4 years).
One of the biggest Myths of Daylight Saving Time is that it was for farmers, so that they could better manage their farms and harvests. It’s almost unbelievable that just about everyone believes this legend to be true, when it is not. In fact, farmers fiercely fought its inception when it was written into law back in 1919. They opposed the time changes because it disrupted their set rhythms. Having one time all year round, whatever that time is set to be, is what is best for farming.
The one thing that criminals are afraid of is being seen and identified. Logically, rates of robberies and assaults are higher when it is dark than when it is light. Could Daylight Saving Time be the best crime stopper of all time?
That one day of an extra hour of sleep in November may feel great, but disrupting our internal clock, productivity wanes at work, pedestrian and traffic accidents increase significantly and serious health problems occur.
People spend more money and go out to do more things when the light stays out longer. Tourism is significantly affected by the clocks going back, but so are selling hamburgers, where McDonald’s testified they sell more burgers with later times than not. The UK has even being toying with the idea of moving the time ahead 2 additional hours to encourage more economic activity.
We all probably know someone who suffers from the “winter blues”, or someone who suffers from the full-on depression of SAD. Learn how Daylight Saving Time increases the suffering of these people.
There have been some studies that have shown that Daylight Saving Time reduces energy use. There have also been some studies that have shown that it increases energy use. But, do you know how many factors are involved in energy consumption? It is literally impossible to isolate the time change from all of the other factors such as weather (is it cloudier/rainier/colder than the previous comparison periods), population change (are there more or less people), and use of technology (each year more power is consumed by the same number of people).
Logically, it just makes sense. When the sun sets later, you don’t turn on the lights as much and you spend more time outside. While it isn’t much, the US Department of Energy calculated the energy savings to be 0.03%.
Do you dread the day that it’s “Fall Back”? While we might gain an hour of sleep, the early sunsets make many of us very sad that they don’t get to see the sun at all after work. Seeing the sunlight brings happiness to us, so when the time goes back in the fall, depression increases. People with Seasonal Affective Disorder are greatly affected by this period.
Daylight Saving Time has two time changes a year. These time changes are factors in disrupting sleep patters, our circadian rhythm, increasing heart attacks, and others.
While some people simply dislike the seasonal changes and inconveniences of the time changes, there are some very serious safety considerations in traffic safety. Better light equals better safety. When the clock turns back, there is a significant increase in traffic accidents and fatalities.
The abrupt time changes imposed by the Daylight Saving Time process greatly affects our Circadian Rhythms, which are directly related to our sleep patterns which can take weeks to recover…