Waking up on time can be quite confusing when daylight savings time goes into effect. The practice of daylight savings time is something that most people have come to accept over the years. Here at OnlineClock.net, we make it easy for you to make the change, even if many of you are not excited about doing so. Formally, the term daylight saving time is correct, but we prefer the popular term daylight savings time (in case you haven’t noticed – the difference is the “S” at the end of “savings”).
Even though we have previously featured the subject of daylight savings time in our blog, we would like to cover the subject from a different angle by providing a very brief history of the practice, and present the arguments for and against the matter.
How Daylight Savings Time Began
Daylight savings time was both a wartime idea and a German idea. Beginning in 1916, Germany and its World War I allies first used daylight savings time for the conservation of coal during the war. Britain, its allies, as well as most of Europe’s neutrals followed suit. Russia and several other countries decided to wait until the following year to implement daylight savings time. The United States adopted the practice in 1918. Since that time, the world has seen much legislation, enactments, changes and repeals regarding the issue of daylight savings time. Among Americans, the legislative part of the subject of daylight savings time becomes the very first argument against the issue. Should time be legislated?
Whether or not people think daylight savings time is a good idea really depends on who you ask; however, it is indeed an interesting issue to throw out there for discussion. Since it was a wartime idea, it made sense to most of the people during that time in history. Much like other legislation in the United States, the subsequent or future practice of daylight savings time was initially left up to the individual states as to whether or not they wanted to keep daylight savings time. Therein lies the first problem. Transportation businesses had to push for another piece of legislation to standardize daylight savings time in order to keep their services running without confusion. There were so many time differences that the transportation industry and their arrival and departure times had become chaotic. A standardized time practice had to be legislated, and whether or not your state wanted to see daylight savings time as a permanent solution became irrelevant. Many argue this as typical of big government. They believe that once legislation comes about, it is virtually impossible to get rid of it. They say that it is just one more way to lose freedoms that are at the core of the United States Constitution. Could these arguments against daylight savings time legislation be correct?
Another aspect that is brought to the forefront of the argument is the issue of how time changes can interrupt the circadian rhythm of our bodies, therefore shortening the time we sleep. Experts on the subject of sleep maintain that not getting enough sleep can put otherwise good health at risk. Sleep disorders pose a new question: Is daylight savings time good for us?
Experts argue that our internal clocks are set by the time of natural light changes throughout the year. Therefore, by forcing a time change, it can have long-term effects.
In one European study, a collection of data on sleep patterns of 55,000 people in Central Europe produced interesting results. According to Dr. Till Roenneberg of Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, the aforementioned negative sleep effects are quite real. Roenneberg’s researchers found that if people would not have to change to daylight savings time, they would adjust to dawn in the summer and dawn in the autumn without any problems at all. The natural adjustment to daylight savings time causes an interruption. This interruption causes sleep loss and could have long-term effects.
Conversely, another expert, Dr. Louis Ptacek an investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute disagrees. Dr Ptacek says that with the advent of the light bulb, we can create our own light at night, therefore negating any biological effects of the loss of light that might disrupt our internal clocks. Everyone knows a night owl that loves to read or watch television late at night, and they don’t seem to be fatigued or unhealthy if they have a job that does not require them to be up extremely early in the morning.
Dr. Ptacek further contends that there are more social activities possible with artificial light and that adds to a more balanced, healthier lifestyle. Health issues are one aspect that probably could give us all an unending discussion; however, the idea of daylight savings time began as an attempt to further an economical goal. Does daylight savings time actually save or make money? As ever, there are quite a number of arguments surrounding these economical questions.
An Economic Perspective
According to British researchers from Cambridge University, England’s government contends that the practice of daylight savings time is favorable for many things, including, cutting down on car accidents. They also contend that there is a two percent daily reduction in electricity usage. The researchers found that the government’s statements are largely unsupported, and there is no reason to think that daylight savings time is an energy-saver. Further it should not be assumed as favorable for cutting down on car accidents. In fact, the British researchers could not find studies that were ever commissioned in an effort to form such opinions.
In the United States, a 2008 study conducted by Matthew Kotchen, an economist at the University of California, resulted in the conclusion that daylight savings time actually costs more money. Kotchen contends that because of the extra hour of daylight savings time, we turn on air conditioning for longer periods, thereby increasing energy costs. That is largely because people get home an hour earlier to a warmer house and have the need for an extra hour of air conditioning. That seems pretty simple; however, there are those who disagree with Kotchen. Who, would disagree? This may not be a surprise, but just like in England, the United States government disagrees with independent researchers. However, unlike England, the United States sent the Department of Energy to do the study, and they came back with an argument in favor of energy savings with regards to daylight savings time. Imagine that?
If you continue to read about the arguments for and against daylight savings time, you may be just like us and not know who to believe. However, governments seem to have a higher stake economically in keeping the practice going. Perhaps the earlier discussion of once something is legislated, it becomes difficult to change has some merit.
As for the people, they don’t all agree either. For instance, national telephone surveys by Rasmussen show that many people just don’t think time change is worth all the hassle. At least 47 percent of the people surveyed said that it was not worth it, while 40 percent thought that the time change was worth the hassle.
On the other hand, author David Prerau states that his research shows that most people are quite fond of daylight savings time. He maintains that the first day of daylight savings time is like the first day of spring for many people. Prerau contends that if you ask most people if they enjoy daylight savings time, they would give you a favorable answer.
The one thing that both proponents and opponents for daylight savings time agree on is the fact that it is a hassle. It’s just one more thing that we have to place on the list of things to do. Of course, then we have to remember to do it! OnlineClock.net can help you with this part. We have many alarms and countdown devices that can make it easier to make the change. In fact, we pride ourselves on the efficiency of our most valued timers. As to the issue of whether or not we can help you decide to agree or disagree with daylight savings time, we are at a loss. As with every issue, there are positives and negatives. You will have to make up your mind on what is more important to you.
At OnlineClock.net, we are proponents of good health and exercise; therefore extended daylight hours can be good for prolonged outdoor sports and other healthy activities. However, if the practice of creating extra daylight hours have a negative influence on sleep, it negates the benefits of the extra time for exercise. See what we mean? You can be for it and against it at the same time! Oh well, we tried. Maybe you can think of different aspects to argue and decide if you like the time changes.
If changing the clocks weren’t enough of a bother, the practice of checking the batteries in your smoke detector became yet another thing that officials remind you to do after changing your clocks. This leaves us wondering what else officials will add to the list in the future. Perhaps we should check for fleas on the dog and clean out our closets as well? We are being facetious, but it is rather curious as to how that particular thing got attached to daylight savings time.
At OnlineClock.net, the time switches involving daylight savings time are a no brain. Online Clock uses your computer’s own time settings. All modern-day computers come with the capacity to automatically adjust themselves to the time changes from daylight savings time each year – automatically. In the very instant that your computer updates itself to the new time, Online Clock does, too. (Theoretically, you can even watch such a time change take place live on our online alarm clock!)
For now, it looks like daylight savings time is here to stay because there are studies that support it. As to whether or not the people support the idea is up for grabs. We are quite sure the conspiracy theorists could have a good time with this subject. In fact, during our research, we came across a rather humorous article on a daylight savings time conspiracy theory from the Huffington Post. (The article was written in 2007. This was during the George W. Bush administration. Apparently, the writer had a friend named Fred who loved to spin a good conspiracy theory for every subject, and would then proceed to connect it to the current administration. She is not sure what he does for a living, though she thinks he is either a hair stylist or an accountant. The article is worth reading just for the opportunity to imagine Fred on the other end of the phone line wearing a little tin foil hat!)