Let There Be Light! An Introduction to Daylight Saving Time.

This coming Sunday (March 11) at precisely 2.00am, North America prepares itself for Daylight Saving Time in 2012. What does this mean exactly? It is important to remember that on Saturday night (or rather, very early on Sunday morning!) all of us are required to move our clocks 1 hour forward. Of course, nobody likes the idea of losing a whole hour of sleep, especially before starting classes on Monday morning. Despite this minor inconvenience, Daylight Saving Time was introduced to have a positive effect on our daily routine! Lets take a look at some of the reasons why we change our clocks towards the end of March.

The idea of Daylight Saving Time was first thought up by US scientist Benjamin Franklin. In his 1907 pamplet ‘Waste of Daylight’, Franklin wrote:

“Everyone appreciates the long, light evenings. Everyone laments their shortage as Autumn approaches”

From this quotation, we can see that Benjamin Franklin was one of the first scientists to point out, that as human beings, we share a natural preference to receive as much daylight as possible. Moreover, the long, light evenings of which he describes were in reference to those nights experienced during the summer, which brings us to our next point.

The Start of Summer!
Daylight Saving Time, also referred to as DST or ‘Summer Time’ in many countries across the globe, allows us to make better, more productive use of daylight. For those of you who live near the equator, what is classed as ‘day time’ and ‘night time’ are usually of similar length. However, for those of us that live closer to the North or South Pole, Summer provides us with more daylight. If there is naturally more daylight during the summer months, this means we also have the opportunity to ‘do’ more. Simple, right? By putting our clocks just 1 hour forward, we can maximize the amount of sunlight we receive throughout the year and consequently, enjoy longer, summer nights! It is for this particular reason why many countries choose to put their clocks forward, although there are other benefits which contribute to our environment.

Daylight Saving Time = Energy Saving Time
By allowing more natural sunlight into our daily routine, scientific studies have proven that countries can actually reduce their use of electricity. Such a reduction in electricity mostly occurs as a result of being less reliant on lights and lamps , as opposed to the winter months where sunset can occur from around 5pm onwards!

So, whether it is your cell-phone, computer or your trustworthy clock-radio, remember to put your clocks 1 hour forward this Saturday evening. You may feel a little more tired than usual, but think of those long summer nights and it will all be worth it!