Daylight-saving time (DST) is controversial. In the short term, some say, daylight-saving does more harm than good. Others argue that saving daylight conserves electricity and is worth the trouble. Still others just want to remember to set their clocks this year!
George Vernon Hudson, a New Zealand entomologist, is credited with the creation of daylight-saving time. According to the National Library of New Zealand, Hudson originally proposed a two-hour time shift during the spring and fall equinoxes to the Wellington Philosophical Society in 1895.
Now, 115 years later, almost half the world uses at least some form of the system, which has been criticized for disrupting sleep schedules and throwing workers off their game.
A 2009 Michigan State University published by the American Psychological Association study showed that DST has adverse effects on the American workplace.
"Following [the start and end of DST], employees slept 40 min less, had 5.7% more workplace injuries, and lost 67.6% more work days because of injuries than on non phase change days," explained the study, which looked at mining injuries between 1983 and 2006 from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Daylight-saving time has many detractors, but others tout its benefit towards saving electricity.
The California Energy Commission reported that studies done by the U.S. Department of Transportation in the 1970s showed the country trimming its energy usage by about one percent each day with daylight-saving time.
In 1996, the U.S. Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, which established daylight-saving time across the country. A year later, Arizona went on DST, then asked for an exception to the law. They got it. Now, Arizona, Hawaii and a few U.S. territories do not use DST.
The controversy surrounding DST might not be centered on its alteration of the time, but rather, how it affects our schedules.
The University of Helsinki in Finland found that the transition from daylight-saving time during the fall into the standard time was "more disturbing for the more morning type" while the spring clock change affected more night and evening types of people.
"Transitions out of and into daylight-saving time enhance night-time restlessness and compromise the quality of sleep," the study explained. "They may thereby affect mood in a negative way and be a concern for individuals with mood disorder in particular."
This year, daylight-saving time lasts from March 14th to November 7th. Don't forget to set your clocks!!
Just remember to 'spring' forward.
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