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If you’re anything like us, Daylight Saving Time has you feeling like you’re living out the movie Groundhog Day, like “Seriously? I still feel exhausted?”
Add kids to the mix and it’s basically a time machine of misery. So why do we do it? We’ll fall back in time (😂) to where it all began, to better understand this sh*tty, sh*tty time warp.
SO, WHY DO WE DO IT?
Daylight Saving Time is observed by about 40% of the world’s countries in order to take advantage of daylight hours.
We “spring forward” for spring and summer when the sun sets late in the day, and “fall back” during fall and winter to make up for the sun setting basically before you’ve even packed up from your desk.
Not only does this allow us vitamin D-deprived humans to soak up a little extra sunlight, it’s also a method to conserve energy (lights aren’t turned on as early), it boosts the economy (people are out eating, drinking and shopping later) and it’s actually safer (reports showed a 13% decrease in pedestrian fatalities during dawn and dusk and a 7% decrease in robberies after springing forward).
THE DAWN OF DST
The idea of Daylight Saving Time dates back to 1895 when George Hudson, an entomologist from New Zealand, came up with the idea of a two-hour shift during the summer to allow for more daylight hours of work.
Several years later, William Willett, a British builder (and great-great grandfather to Coldplay frontman Chris Martin) also struck on the idea, but aside from some political support, the British government rejected it.
It was actually Germany that first officially adopted the concept midway through World War I in 1916, as a means to save energy and increase daylight working hours. Not too long after, England and America adopted it, too.
We wouldn’t be Canadians though if we didn’t toot our own horn and acknowledge that there was reported use of Daylight Saving Time in Canada before Europe. In 1908, residents of Thunder Bay turned their clocks forward one hour, and not long after, other provinces followed suit.
THE CAMPAIGN TO DROP IT
Daylight Saving Time doesn’t seem so bad when you really break it down, right?
Well, there’s still some backlash (from some very sleepy people, no doubt). They claim it actually causes people to be less productive (because they’re groggy), unhappier (because they miss that precious extra hour of sleep), it doesn’t save energy (the National Research Council of Canada could not determine whether this was true or not), and it’s killing people (sleepy drivers cause more accidents).
There are even rumours that it causes increased infertility for women undergoing IVF during DST, and that it’s responsible for increased cluster headaches, strokes and heart attacks (yikes). But studies haven’t actually confirmed any of this.
HATERS GONNA HATE
If these people really have such an issue with it, they can move to Hawaii, Arizona, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and a few Amish communities throughout the United States, and most of Asia and Africa, which don’t observe DST.
And the list is only getting longer.
Just as soon as people hit the snooze button, they’re complaining about DST, and campaigning to rid the world of it. Just this past month, politicians in Manitoba were pushing for it, arguing that it doesn’t really conserve energy and farmers don’t care either way, and Minnesota is advancing a bill to abolish Daylight Saving Time in an effort to curb the 6% rise in car crashes they’ve noted following DST. California voters also approved a measure to make DST year round, but California legislature and Congress will still need to approve it before it’s legit.
And speaking of haters, POTUS has even weighed in on the debate, tweeting (obv) “Making Daylight Saving Time permanent is O.K. with me!” (Well, now we can all sleep a little better.)
SLEEP ON THIS
Ensure you wake up on the right side of the bed after Daylight Saving Time by following a few simple guidelines:
- Cut out electronics before bed — something you (er, we) should all be doing anyway.
- Avoid caffeine in the days leading up to DST to ensure a healthy, natural sleep. (Um, no.)
- Gradually ease into Daylight Saving Time by shifting your bedtime up in 15 minute increments each day.
- Once you’ve moved your bedtime up an hour, stick to your sleep schedule, even on weekends.
- Take naps (hey, we can dream, right?)
It’s also a handy marker for all of those annual housekeeping chores that always seem to slip your mind, like testing and replacing the batteries in your smoke alarms and flipping your mattress. (That’s a surefire way to make DST even more enjoyable.)