Why do countries use Daylight Saving Time?
Every year, there are two occasions when there is a need for you to change your clock (well, you don’t manually do it these days thanks to technology but still). One just at the start of winter (referred to as fall back) and the other just before the spring (known as spring forward). In the former, you push your clock back by one hour which takes you to standard time, while in the latter, you set your clock one hour ahead of standard time – which is basically daylight saving time (DST).
This must have got a lot of you thinking, why this process is followed in a lot of countries and what’s the purpose behind it?
Well, quite simply the main reason behind daylight saving time is to save energy. In countries where the days are long during the summer months, DST helps add one additional hour of daylight during the evenings in summers, which helps save resources.
For example, if a region follows its standard time and it gets 14 hours of sunlight on a day, then the time when the sun rises would be around 5 am and sunset would be around 7 pm. But most people don’t engage in any activities at 5 am in the morning. Therefore, if time is pushed forward by one hour, you get one extra hour of sunlight – until 8 pm in this case – when people tend to be active while an hour of no sunlight before 6 am won’t matter to most of the population. This, in turn, helps conserve energy every day.
As there isn’t a significant difference in the amount of sunshine hours across different seasons in the tropical region, countries near the equator do not have the need to enact daylight savings.
While there were proposals for daylight saving years earlier, it was the former Canadian city of Port Arthur in Ontario that officially implemented it on 1 July 1908. Currently, most of Canada observes daylight saving, with the expectations being Yukon, Southampton Island in Nunavut, Atikokan in Ontario, Le Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent in Quebec and parts of Saskatchewan and British Columbia.
This year, in Canada, daylight saving will begin on March 13 and end on November 6 – the former will be a 23-hour day, while the latter will last for 25 hours. So, be prepared to plan your sleep schedules accordingly!