Daylight Saving Time was first proposed in 1784, when the famous scientist Benjamin Franklin, who at the time was the U.S. ambassador in France, realized that many hours of daylight were lost in the morning, and that many candles had to be used in order to have light in the afternoon. However, his proposal did not go far, and it was not until World War II that the United States of America introduced a Daylight Saving Time in every single one of its states. This is a practice that we continue to do globally, and it has both benefits and disadvantages. Keep reading to find out more!
Natural daylight is responsible for determining the amount of melatonin, which is also known as the sleep hormone, we produce throughout the day; this is the reason why when it starts to get dark, we start feeling sleepy and tired, unlike when there is a lot of natural light. This means that daylight is also responsible for our circadian clock (best known as “biological clock”) since it determines our sleep cycles. When it is time to adjust our biological clocks to Daylight Saving Time, our body faces a temporary misalignment.
One of the main advantages Daylight Saving Time has is that it allows us to achieve a better use of daylight hours, resulting in a lower consumption of electricity, which brings economic and environmental benefits, because the less energy we use, the less carbon dioxide (CO2) we release. Similarly, taking advantage of daylight encourages people to do more, and feel safer, given the fact that crime increases at nighttime, when there is less light.
While it is true that Daylight Saving Time has its benefits, it also presents disadvantages, since the effect it has on people is similar to the impact of jet lag: it produces fatigue, general tiredness, a decrease in physical and intellectual performance, drowsiness, insomnia, lack of concentration, etc. There are even studies that have suggested that Daylight Saving Time is linked to an increase in heart attacks in the following days, and they seem to decrease once we return to winter time. Moreso, there has been an increase in car accidents and suicide rates, which increase during the first three days of Daylight Saving Time.
The good news is that the effects of Daylight Saving Time can be minimized by taking small actions:
To conclude, we want to share a fun fact with you. Did you know that Daylight Saving Time takes place in 70 countries? Most of them are found in both North America and Europe. Japan is the only industrialized country in the whole world where Daylight Saving Time does not take place.
Now that we have shared a bit of its history with you, as well as its importance for the environment, its advantages and disadvantages, tell us in the comment section below, what is your opinion about Daylight Saving Time? Do you find it hard to get used to it? Do you think it is a good idea to keep going with this practice, or should we leave it behind? We would love to read what you have to say!
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