Is daylight saving time still worth it? 5 questions as most of the nation prepares to fall back

Stock image/Julian Paolo Dayag (Pexels)

It’s time to adjust the clocks in the kitchen, bedroom, car and wherever else is needed, as another daylight saving time day is upon us this weekend.

Since it’s November, this weekend’s time adjustment of going an hour backward will result in one more hour of sleep on Sunday, but less daylight, as it will now get dark an hour earlier.

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But how did daylight saving time come into existence, what are the pros and cons, and why is it still happening?

Here are some answers to a few key questions surrounding daylight saving time.

Who invented daylight saving time?

The invention of the concept is credited to George Hudson, an entomologist from New Zealand who, in 1895, proposed a two-hour time shift so there would be more daylight after work to go bug hunting, according to National Geographic.

The concept was also championed in England by a man named William Willett, who proposed the idea to England’s parliament in the early 1900s.

Despite the efforts of those two men, the idea was not formally introduced until Germany did so in 1916 as a way to save energy.

Back then, coal was the primary source of energy, and more daylight meant less coal usage.

Shortly after that, England adopted the concept of daylight saving time, and in 1918, it was enacted by the United States government.

Which countries around the world use daylight saving time?

Mainly, daylight saving time is used by countries in the northern and southern hemisphere that are farther from the equator.

Countries in North America and Europe are the primary practicers of daylight saving time, although parts of Australia and South America adopt the concept, as well.

In the middle portions of Earth near the equator, there isn’t much of a need to adopt daylight saving time because the amount of sun is roughly the same year-round.

To view a map of countries that use daylight saving time, click or tap here.

Are there areas of the United States that don’t participate in daylight saving time?

Arizona primarily ignores the concept, because summer is so hot in that state that residents prefer an hour less of daylight at night. However, parts of northeast Arizona -- that are property of the Navajo Nation -- do observe daylight saving time.

Hawaii is another state that doesn’t observe daylight saving time because its sunset and sunrise times don’t change much throughout the year.

In 2018, Florida passed the Sunshine Protection Act in an effort to bypass daylight saving time in the fall. However, it has yet to be approved by Congress.

What are some pros of daylight saving time?

For states in the northern half of the United States and countries in the northern hemisphere that endure cold winter months, having an extra hour of daylight at night in the summer allows people to further enjoy recreational activities such as walking in a park or downtown area, golfing, fishing, biking or hiking.

Daylight saving time can also be a moneymaker for businesses, according to NPR. There’s a theory that extra daylight gives people more incentive to go shopping on their way home from work. The article states that one of the biggest proponents of daylight saving time is various Chamber of Commerce offices.

What are the cons of daylight saving time?

Originally created to save energy when coal was the primary source of it, in recent decades, there actually have been minimal energy savings as a result of daylight saving time, according to National Geographic.

There are also reports that on the Monday following daylight saving time for the spring, the risk of heart attacks and car accidents can increase due to the lost hour of sleep.

Despite assumptions that daylight saving time helps farmers, that is also not the case.

Farmers have lobbied against daylight saving time in the past, saying that the lost hour of daylight in the morning disrupts getting crops to the market and makes it hard to adjust the body clocks of livestock, according to the website Simply Grazin.’

Beyond those reasons, people just seem to be annoyed at the prospect of setting clocks throughout the house twice a year.

What are your thoughts about daylight saving time? Let us know in the comments below. This story was first published in 2021. It has since been updated.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.