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What’s Daylight Saving Time? Explained Simply

Written by Vedika Pathania, a second-year journalism student

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the activity of changing the clocks one hour forward from standard time during the summer and backward in the fall to make greater use of daylight.

By I Kid You Not , in Did You Know Explained Facts to Know , at April 24, 2022 Tags: , , , ,

Written by Vedika Pathania, a second-year journalism student

Countries have long disputed whether or not Daylight Saving Time is beneficial. What exactly is it, and what is the issue?

What is Daylight Saving Time?

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the activity of changing the clocks one hour forward from standard time during the summer and backward in the fall (before winter) to make greater use of daylight.

The main reason is that Daylight Saving Time is supposed to conserve energy. It entails moving clocks forward by an hour in the spring and backward by an hour in the autumn, and advocates believe that it results in a longer evening daylight. People will finish their regular work routines an hour sooner, and the extra hour of daylight will mean — or should mean — less energy use.

History of DTS

As with most things in history, this too has many theories. While some reports suggest that a group of Canadians were the first try it on July 1, 1908, by shifting their clocks forward an hour. Other Canadian provinces soon followed.

But, this was actually first suggested (though not done then) in 1784 in an essay by Benjamin Franklin – who was an American printer and publisher, author, inventor, scientist, diplomat & one of the founding fathers of America.

Then, during World War I, Germany and Austria implemented Daylight Saving Time (DST) in April 1916 to reduce the usage of artificial lights. It gradually gained traction in a number of nations. On the last Sunday in March, clocks in the EU’s 28 member states are moved forward, on the last Sunday in October, they fall back. In India, there is no daylight saving time.

Points in favour of the system

  1. Better use of natural daylight and hence, energy conservation
  2. According to some research, DST may reduce traffic accidents and injuries by providing more daylight during the hours when more people use the roads.
  3. DST is beneficial to the economy: For eight months of the year, more daylight means more people shopping after work, raising retail sales, and more people driving, increasing petrol and snack purchases.
  4. It also promotes more active lifestyles

Sounds good and practical but, what is the issue?

Popular Science magazine used studies in a recent piece to highlight the downsides of DST. According to one study, losing one hour of sleep in the United States raises the fatal crash rate by 5.4 percent to 7.6 percent during the six days after the switch.

Other studies have discovered a higher rate of workplace injuries following the switch, resulting in lost days of work; a slight drop in stock market performance; health issues as a result of the circadian rhythm (body clock) being disrupted — and even longer sentences ordered by judges who are sleep deprived.

According to the other study, those who live in western time zones – which enjoy longer evening sun – have a higher cancer risk than those who live in eastern time zones. The higher cancer risk might be explained in part by differences in lifestyle choices, such as food and exercise, between time zones.

More health professionals are objecting to daylight saving time, many of whom are already concerned about how poorly early-morning school is suited to kids’ normal sleep patterns.

Recent developments

On March 15, the United States Senate enacted a bill making daylight saving time (DST) permanent, ending the biannual tradition of advancing and reversing clocks to coincide with the arrival and departure of winter.

The Sunshine Protection Act will go into effect in November 2023 if it passes in the House of Representatives and is signed into law by President Joe Biden.

Sleep experts, however, recommend against it. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine published a statement after the Senate voted to make daylight saving time permanent, cautioning against adopting a fixed, year-round schedule with significant health hazards.

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