It’s that time of year again. On Sunday, most of the country will move their clocks forward an hour. Yet, with about 40 percent of the countries worldwide practicing daylight saving time, it has become a hot topic for debate around the world. In fact, many recent studies have shown that daylight saving time may not be as effective today as it was 100 years ago.
So, why does less than half of the world still participate in daylight saving time if it might be a seemingly ineffective process?
Well, let’s go back to its origin.
The concept of daylight saving time was created by a British builder, William Willet, in 1907. He suggested setting the clocks ahead by 20 minutes on each Sunday in April and then switching them back by 20 minutes on each Sunday in October. The idea didn’t gain any momentum until April 30, 1916, during World War I. Germany and Austria decided to turn their clocks ahead 1 hour to minimize the use of artificial lighting and to conserve fuel needed to produce electric power.
Within the next year, 16 countries nearby followed suit. The United States formally adopted daylight saving time in 1918. In the past 100 years, daylight saving time laws have undergone a lot of changes to try to make it work. But no matter what we try, it just doesn’t seem to be working as well as originally hoped. And it’s hurting us financially.
Here are a few ways why daylight saving time may be hurting your finances:
1. Decrease in Productivity
Moving your clocks forward one hour in the spring can be hard on your body’s circadian clock. In fact, some studies have shown that your body never truly adjusts to the time change.
“After taking the seasonal adjustment into account, our results show that the human circadian clock does not adjust to the DST transition,” said Till Roenneberg of Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Munich Germany. “This is especially obvious in the late chronotypes in spring when one looks at their daily activity patterns. Essentially, their biological timing stays on standard, winter time, while they have to adjust their social schedules to advanced clock time through the summer.”
That means you could be slightly “off” during the entire daylight saving time season! If everyone at work is off their game for half the year, that can hurt your productivity drastically.
2. Increase in energy bills
In 2006, the Indiana Legislature decided to mandate daylight saving time statewide. At the time, only 15 of Indiana’s 92 counties were using daylight saving time. Some researchers decided to compare energy usage before and after the change to see if people were really saving money with daylight saving time. Come to find out, the answer was none. In fact, daylight saving cost the entire state nine million dollars per year.
Years ago, Benjamin Franklin supported the idea of daylight saving time because he noticed that a lot of people “slept during sunlit hours in the morning and burned candles for illumination in the evening,” according to this Yale study.
The study on Indiana found that “consistent with Benjamin Franklin’s original conjecture, our simulation results show that DST saves on electricity used for illumination but increases electricity used for heating and cooling.”
So daylight saving improves one energy problem, only to cause another.
3. Different time zones adjustments
Over 70 countries use daylight saving time, however, most countries adjust their clocks on different dates throughout a two-month period, twice a year. So it can be hard to keep track of the different daylight saving time adjustments when traveling to different countries. Or it could be hard to schedule conference calls during that two-month period.
Within those two months, time differences between countries can change up to three times. That can be confusing and super frustrating.
So, what do we do about daylight saving time? Is there anything we can do? A lot of states have tried to abolish daylight saving time, but many have failed before they could get enough momentum, except Arizona and Hawaii.
But if you’d prefer to not move to Arizona or Hawaii, here are a few ways you can get through this weekend without feeling like a zombie for the next few months: