We change our clocks twice a year, every year. We move them forward in the spring and back in the fall, on different dates in different countries. While daylight savings has been adopted around the world, it has been controversial in many countries.
Two of the biggest debates about whether daylight saving time, or summer time as it’s called outside the United States, focus on negative health outcomes and whether DST really saves energy, which was its original intent.
Many people don’t know much about the origins of the biannual ritual: most of us just look forward to getting an extra hour of natural light in the spring and dread the lost hour of sleep in the fall.
For example, the popular belief is that farmers pushed for the change to daylight hours when, in fact, they hate it because it disrupts their schedule too much — they already make the most of the daylight and wake up very early. It was actually businesses that lobbied to move the clocks forward because they estimated they would earn billions more in revenue.
Also, many people call it daylight savings time, but the accurate spelling is singular.
DST is confusing and controversial for what may not be very obvious reasons. It’s more complicated than just remembering when it starts (beginning of March) and when it ends ( first week of November). It can lead to severe depression, fatal pedestrian accidents, and even increased energy consumption.
To compile a list of lesser-known facts about daylight saving time, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed over a dozen studies, news reports, and historical articles on DST’s origins, the controversies around it, and how it is observed around the world.