This upcoming Sunday, daylight saving time begins. Daylight saving time or DST is when we turn our clocks ahead one hour. Here in North America it typically starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November. I know that most of us are familiar with the practice but do you know why?
The practice started during the First World War and has been used by various countries during various times since then. The purpose of DST was to create more “daylight” during the evenings in the summer so that more people could enjoy the sunlight and activities that benefit from the extra light such as sports after work hours.
Not everyone practices DST however, below is a picture of areas that observes DST:
Blue- DST used
Orange- DST used in the past
Red- DST never been used
While I personally do not have a problem with DST, many people do not support it and here’s a list of why:
– It screws up your sleep schedule – You either lose an hour of sleep or have to get up and hour earlier, which means EVERYONE is tired the next morning. According to some studies traffic accidents increase by almost 10% the morning after because of the lack of sleep everyone experiences.
– It can be a nightmare for timekeeping – schedules, deadlines, recordkeeping, travel times (imagine the confusion it would cause at an international airport) etc.
– Confuses technology — Most computers now automatically changes the clock for DST but this can still lead to errors especially when you move to a place where DST isn’t observed or dates of DST have changed (such as in 2007). When DST starts, a whole hours is skipped and when it ends the same hour happens twice. Medical devices and other technology that use clocks as a guideline can accidently repeat the same action twice or skip the action all together.
– Requires people to actually remember and adjust clocks – Once my mom completely forgot about DST which resulted in me and my sister arriving at swim lessons a whole hour late. We stood by the pool for 15 minutes, completely confused before we figured out what happened. It was a creepy experience, living in a different time than everyone else around us.
With all these cons why do people still observe DST? Simple. When you live far north or south enough of the equator you will savor the extra sunlight during the evenings in the summer.
Remember to turn your clocks ahead an hour on the 11th or before you go to bed on the 10th!