What is Daylight Savings Time? Why Do Our Clocks Go Back in Time?


Short Bytes: DST or Daylight Savings Time is a method in which the clock is shifted by an hour or so, to get some extra sunlight during summers. This helps people improve their work efficiency or save some time for their personal betterment.

If you ever try to watch a YouTube video about Daylight Savings Time (DST), there are great chances that you’ll replay the video in order to get it correctly. This addition, subtraction of time is enough to blow away any your mind, because after watching that video, it is guaranteed you’ll start doubting your IQ level.

First of all, what’s the point of doing all these messy calculations, just to save an extra hour in the summer. And the famous GoT line, “Winter is Coming”, should be, “Summer is Coming”, as it depicts the determination manifested by people in making better use of their summer time.

Historical Background:

DST has been there since the ancient times, when people used sunlight as a reference for their day, and the length of the hour varied in different months of the year, calculated by Roman Water Clocks. The proverb, “Early to Bed and Early to Rise, Makes a Man Healthy, Wealthy And Wise”, greatly coincides with the early French practices of waking up people at sunrise by Church Bells and firing cannon shots, thus reducing the use of candles in the evening.

George Hudson, a New Zealand based Entomologist, all because he wanted more time to savour his hobby of collecting bugs, proposed the modern version of DST. So, bugs were the main reason, we have an extra hour of sunlight in the summers. At the Wellington Philosophical Society in 1895, he presented his idea for a Two-Hour Daylight Saving shift in his research paper. Since then, many people have contributed towards the advancement of the DST concept.

Germans were the first ones to adopt Daylight Savings Time, they used DST at the time of WWI on April 30, 1916, as they wanted to save their money wasted on coal expenses. And following the ‘Go with the flow’ philosophy, Britain and other European nations also adopted Daylight Savings Time. The United States, wanted to see the effectiveness of DST and adopted it in 1916.

The Methodology:

The process of implementing DST varies with region all over the world. But, in a nutshell, what we do is, we force the clock one hour ahead at the starting of DST and set it back one hour behind at the end of it. So, we have an extra hour of sunlight during summers as Daylight Savings Time forced us to wake up early and sacrifice our comfortable beds. Hopefully, we all won’t use this time for collecting bugs like Hudson.

The countries situated in the equatorial region are generally free from this complex time management. Also, the time for observing DST varies in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere.

DST around the World:

Different parts of the world observe DST according to their convenience. Let’s us focus on some famous countries and see how DST works there:

India: The B. Tech. guys should thank god, that their nation falls in the tropical region and they don’t have to go through all this mess, as they can’t even remember the correct date. It would be a torture on them if an extra burden of DST is loaded, and they are told to wake “ONE HOUR” early in the morning. The only signs of Daylight Savings Time observed in India goes back to WWI, when she was under the control of British Empire.

United Sates: The American guys are quite comfortable with the concept of DST. In USA, the clock takes an hour of forward jump at the last fraction of 1:59 standard time to 3:00 DST on second Sunday of March, so the day has only 23 hours. Similarly, at the end of DST, the clock takes an hour of backward jump at the last fraction of 1:59 DST to 1:00 standard time, leaving a 25 hours day. The state of Arizona does not observe DST, but Navajo Reservation, which contributes a large chunk of Arizona, observes DST.

Europe: The nations comprising the European Union, observe Daylight Savings Time from the last Sunday in March at 1:00 am UTC till the last Sunday in October at 1:00 am UTC.

Wondering about UTC, use your hands and Google it.

Brazil: Brazil lies in the Southern Hemisphere and observes its DST from first Sunday of November until the third Sunday of February.

Australia: The Aussies observe their Daylight Savings Time like Brazil as they also lie in the Southern Hemisphere. There DST starts the last Sunday in October and ends the last Sunday in March.

Pros and Cons:

DST has been praised and promoted by urban people, as it equips them with more hours to do their work more efficiently. Also, waking up early makes the day a little bit longer giving people some free time in the evening for physical activities, which improves their physical and mental health, thus reducing stress issues.

Daylight Savings Time plays an important part for urban workers, tourism operators, outdoor adventurers and businesses as it gives them more daylight, which is an essential part of their work.

DST has been a topic of criticism among farmers, as they argue that their cattle don’t know how to use a clock, as they are concerned about milking the cows who follow sunlight as their biological clock. Also, the consistent argument that DST contributes in saving energy becomes obsolete as changing clock twice a year actually cancels out any savings, if made.

Daylight Savings Time is not observed during Winters, as it will wake people in the dark and would actually add to more usage of electricity during that time.

Some people find DST to be a more helpful way of waking up early in the morning than the conventional methods like alarm clocks, as it adjusts their biological clock to wake up at that time in the morning. Some people only follow DST to get in coordination with other people who follow DST.

Does it actually save energy?

DST has been put into the debate regarding the contributions it makes to energy savings, so as to make justice to the cause for which it came into existence. According to different studies conducted by various organizations from time to time, the energy saving capabilities are not even up to considerable levels, in fact Daylight Savings Time has led to an increase in energy consumption in some parts of the world, thanks to the change in energy usage patterns in the modern world. Energy consumption also differs by geography, climate and economic status of the region, thus it is not wise to come up with a common conclusion for all the areas where it is observed.

Effects on Economy, Safety and Health:

Daylight Savings Time has been in talks for the economic benefits it provides to businesses involved in outdoor sports, retail, tourism, etc. as it facilitates more sunlight, at least theoretically, to the people so they can carry out some physical activities or shopping in the evening after work.

The advent of DST has led to reduction in road accidents and crime rates, but the practicality of this conclusion is only derived from the results from few studies carried out by some organisations, which may have succeeded in their objectives but only in the region where it was conducted.

Clock shifts due to Daylight Savings Time have also contributed towards varying health effects on the society. These clock shifts alter the biological sleep cycle of the individual leading to health concerns.

DST improves exposure to sunlight, increasing the vitamin D in the human body. People wake up early in the morning, so are less prone to depression, but some people do not agree with that. An increase of around 10% in heart attacks is observed due to clock shifts, as it disturbs the normal sleep.

Also Read: How to Find Suitable Time to Chat/Talk Between Different Time Zones?

Winding Up

Daylight Savings Time has its benefits, as it provides extra time for people to carry out their leisure activities. But on the contrary, the purpose for which it was introduced no longer seems to be served in the current situation. Also, the difference between time zones of different parts around the world only adds to the complexity of the whole thing. These differentiated time frames have increased the efforts to keep the electronic devices in sync, which are located in different countries, as each one has its own DST rules. This diversity of Daylight Savings Time observation may only lead to becoming it vague with the passage of time.

Tight your brain screws and watch this video:

Read Further: What Will Humans Look Like in 100,000 Years?

Now, you’ve read the article and have a good knowledge about Daylight Savings Time. There is a fabulous device in front of you, just use your magical keys and show off your tricks in the comments section below.

Aditya Tiwari

Aditya Tiwari

Aditya likes to cover topics related to Microsoft, Windows 10, Apple Watch, and interesting gadgets. But when he is not working, you can find him binge-watching random videos on YouTube (after he has wasted an hour on Netflix trying to find a good show). Reach out at [email protected]
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