The chief objective of popular Daylight Saving Time (DST), known as Summer Time in Europe is to use daylight in an efficient manner. AS part of DST, clocks are moved an hour back during the summer.
Though the practice of DST is common in many countries, they have different dates when it starts and ends. On November 4, 2018, most Americans moved their clocks back by an hour as part of DST. This tradition of changing the clock in spring and fall seasons is part of a long tradition to conserve energy started by Benjamin Franklin.
DST through the Ages:
The tradition of DST that starts in summer months and ends in November during winter has been alive for centuries, though exact dates have varied, also because the US government has brought in new laws in this respect. The credit of starting DST goes to Benjamin Franklin who first came up with this strange idea of resetting the clocks in summer so as to conserve energy. His idea was simple – that by moving clocks backward, the daylight could be optimally utilized and save cost on early lighting in the evening. DST was adopted in Germany in 1916 while in the US in 1998. Much of Europe accepted around the same time.
Where is it observed?
Less than 40% of countries in the world observe DST. However, those who do, try to take advantage of natural light in the extended evening. Regions that are farthest from the equator and closer to poles benefit more from DST. The sunlight during the entire season has an extremely volatile character. DST is observed on the same day in Canada and most parts of the US except Hawaii and Arizona states which don’t observe DST. Most parts of Europe observe Summer Time, their version of DST that begins at 1 am on last Sunday of March and ends at 1 am on last Sunday of October.
Impact on Health and Sleep:
There are several myths and beliefs associated with DST and some of them are related to health and loss of sleep. One of the beliefs is that there is an increased number of heart attacks on Monday that follows the spring forward clock change. A medical study published in 2014 in Journal Open Heart says heart attacks shot up 24% on that Monday. Another study reported in 2009 in the Journal of Applied Psychology says that mine workers reported 40% less sleep and 5.7% more workplace injuries in the first week following the DST, compared to any other time during the year.
How it influences different cultures?
As the weather in the geographies where DST is observed is extremely harsh during the winter, there is always a good reason to celebrate the spring and summer months. Culturally, DST brings one hour more of the day to your life during the season when the sun is shining warm and bright and evenings are extremely pleasant. In many parts of the world, the time around DST is filled with festivals and carnivals. It is that time of the year when you think least of the problems that bad weather brings but enjoys the best of it.
Though there are some pros and cons of daylight saving time, people who live away from the equator have more reasons to adopt DST. It brings a sense of positivity to their daily life. DST helps them use their daylight more efficiently during the summer while in winter the evening approaches well in time. Over the years, people have adopted DST with great enthusiasm and it has a positive impact on social life.
Let’s discuss the pros and cons of DST.
Extended Evenings: When the clock change takes place, the sun rises and sets an hour later by the clock. This helps utilize the evening daylight and save energy better because you start the day early by an hour compared to non-DST days.
Less Artificial Light Needed: A great advantage of DST is that it discourages people to use artificial and utilize daylight optimally.
Saves Negligible Amount of Energy: When DST was introduced about a century ago, it used to save a lot of energy as people anyway used very little energy compared to now when we use all sorts of appliances and devices that run on power. In today’s context, it can save only a negligible amount of energy.
Can Make People Sick: Because of the disruption that it causes to daily life, some people fall sick during the DST
Do you live in a country/region that observes DST or Summer Time? Share your experiences related to DST with us and whether or not it has made any impact on your personal or social life by commenting below: