Why we have daylight saving time?

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

DST clock
The time change can definitely confuse our body’s natural sleep cycle a little bit.

It’s daylight saving time (DST), the part of the year where we have to readjust our clocks forward, get used to earlier days, and experience later sunsets. For many people, it’s a tedious process that causes a fuss and disrupts precious sleep. In short, it just seems pointless, so when did it begin and why?

Well, a lot of the reason has to do with the fact that the days are much longer in the summer than they are in the winter. However, the human credit for the time change often goes to an entomologist (insect scientist) named George Vernon Hudson.

See, he was studying bugs on a New Zealand summer day when he realized he could hunt more of them by waking up earlier – or turning back the clock – to take advantage of extra sunlight. Then, when winter came along, he could return the clock to its standard position, by moving it back.

His idea, which he presented in a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society, eventually led to the adoption of DST on a larger scale. It took a while to catch on, but eventually different parts of the world began to adopt the same practice for various reasons like saving electricity and exposing people to more sunlight.

In the USA, daylight saving time was part of a government act to create international time zones for trains and publish reliable train schedules. There are some states that don’t follow the rule at all, and many that want to stop DST  altogether. After all, there’s a ton of evidence that shows DST wastes energy and causes health problems! For most of the USA, though, DST starts this Sunday at 2am. Time will be pushed forward one hour, until 2am on November 1. The old saying goes, “Spring forward, fall back”, since the time changes happen during the spring and fall season.


Featured image courtesy of comedy_nose on Flickr. Image of digital clock courtesy of schnappischnap on Flickr.