The History and Reasoning behind Daylight Saving

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is a practice that has been observed in many countries for over a century. It involves setting the clock forward by one hour during the summer months and then setting it back by one hour during the winter months. The purpose of DST is to make better use of natural daylight by extending the amount of daylight that is available during the evening hours, thereby reducing the need for artificial lighting and saving energy.

The origins of DST can be traced back to the late 19th century when a New Zealand entomologist named George Vernon Hudson proposed the idea of advancing the clock by two hours during the summer months. However, it was not until World War I that DST was first implemented on a large scale as a wartime measure to conserve fuel. Germany was the first country to introduce DST in 1916, and it was soon adopted by other European countries and the United States.

The rationale behind DST was straightforward: by moving the clock forward by one hour during the summer months, people could enjoy more daylight during the evening hours, which would allow them to engage in more leisure activities and reduce their reliance on artificial lighting. In addition, the practice was seen as a way to save energy by reducing the demand for artificial lighting, particularly in the evening when electricity usage typically peaks.

However, the implementation of DST has not always been smooth. In the United States, for example, the practice was first adopted on a trial basis in 1918 but was later repealed due to public opposition. It was reintroduced during World War II but was once again abandoned after the war. It was not until 1966 that the Uniform Time Act established a standardized system of DST across the United States.

Today, DST is observed in over 70 countries around the world, although not all countries use the same system. Some countries, such as the United States, Canada, and Australia, observe DST from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November, while others, such as most of Europe, observe it from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October. Some countries, such as China and Japan, do not observe DST at all.

The debate over the effectiveness of DST continues to this day. Proponents argue that DST helps to save energy and reduce carbon emissions by reducing the need for artificial lighting, particularly during the evening hours. In addition, they argue that DST promotes public health by encouraging outdoor activities and reducing the risk of traffic accidents during the evening rush hour.

Opponents of DST, on the other hand, argue that the practice is disruptive and can have negative effects on public health and safety. They point to studies that suggest that the disruption of the body’s natural circadian rhythms caused by DST can lead to sleep deprivation and other health problems. In addition, opponents argue that the practice can have a negative impact on certain industries, such as agriculture, which rely on natural light and may be disrupted by changes in the clock.

Despite these debates, the practice of DST remains popular in many countries around the world. However, there have been recent calls to reconsider the practice, particularly in light of new research that suggests that the energy savings associated with DST may be less significant than previously thought.

In conclusion, DST is a practice that has been observed in many countries for over a century. Its origins can be traced back to the late 19th century, but it was not until World War I that it was first implemented on a large scale as a wartime measure to conserve fuel. The rationale behind DST was to make better use of natural daylight by extending the amount of daylight that is available during the evening hours, thereby reducing the need for artificial lighting and saving energy. The implementation of DST has not always been smooth, and the debate over its effectiveness continues to this day. However, DST remains a popular practice in many countries, and its impact on energy usage, public health, and safety continues to be studied and debated.


  1. “The History of Daylight Saving Time.” Time and Date.
  2. “Daylight Saving Time: Its History and Why We Use It.” National Geographic.
  3. “Daylight Saving Time: Pros and Cons.” Live Science.
  4. “Daylight Saving Time and Energy: Evidence from an Australian Experiment.” The Review of Economics and Statistics, vol. 92, no. 4, 2010, pp. 945–964. JSTOR,
  5. “Daylight Saving Time and Traffic Accidents.” New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 364, no. 22, 2011, pp. 2185–2187. doi:10.1056/nejmc1100693.

Afraid to Fall Asleep? (Part II) Effects and Strategies of Sleep Cycles

As you may or may not know: sleep is wonderful. Strangely enough, we don’t get enough of it all. I’ve mentioned the importance of sleep before. Today I’d like to delve a little deeper into the science of the sleep cycle — I’m on the lookout for balrogs and seeking mithril.

Part 1 of this article can be found here: Afraid to Fall Asleep? How Sleep Aids the Body in Growth and Regeneration

The Balrog: Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation causes and/or contributes to many ill effects including: depression, industrial and automotive accidents, delayed learning capabilities, slowed memory retention and intelligence, diminished sex drive, advanced aging of the skin, weight gain, and impaired judgement in regards to how much sleep you’ve gotten and need! A consistent sleep cycle can help you avoid sleep deprivation.

Sleep-deprived people seem to be especially prone to poor judgment when it comes to assessing what lack of sleep is doing to them. In our increasingly fast-paced world, functioning on less sleep has become a kind of badge of honor. But sleep specialists say if you think you’re doing fine on less sleep, you’re probably wrong. And if you work in a profession where it’s important to be able to judge your level of functioning, this can be a big problem.

That’s a really big problem. Sleep deprivation can also contribute to some serious health conditions such as heart disease, heart failure, heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes. This gives reason to the CDC declaring sleep deprivation to be a public health epidemic in the United States. Between 50-70 million adults have a disrupted sleep cycle and suffer from a sleep or wakefulness disorder.


The Mithril: Sleep Cycle Cure

The solution to sleep deprivation is so incredibly simple. All that you have to do is get the right amount of sleep. Knowing exactly what “the right amount” is happens to be a bit more complex. Luckily sleep scientists around the world have been attempting to understand the elusive sleep cycle and their efforts have been deliciously fruitful.

The amount of sleep and best times for sleep are dictated by circadian rhythm. Unlike the burrowing insects who lay dormant for up to 17 years, circadian rhythm is a twenty four hour sleep cycle dictated by circadian clocks. These clocks are biological mechanisms which are synchronized with the day-night cycle. The human sleep cycle is coordinated with the rotation of the Earth.

According to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences:

Circadian rhythms are important in determining human sleep patterns. The body’s master clock, or SCN, controls the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy. Since it is located just above the optic nerves, which relay information from the eyes to the brain, the SCN receives information about incoming light. When there is less light—like at night—the SCN tells the brain to make more melatonin so you get drowsy.

So darkness triggers the body to utilize hormones in order to induce sleep. Once asleep the body and mind go through a series of sleep cycles. These rotate between deeper and more alert states. It is vitally important that you sleep enough for your body to get through several of these sleep cycles. If you don’t, you’re body will log this sleep debt which will need to be repaid later:

Sleep debt is the difference between the amount of sleep you need and the hours you actually get. Every time you sacrifice on sleep, you add to the debt. Eventually, the debt will have to be repaid; it won’t go away on its own. If you lose an hour of sleep, you must make up that extra hour somewhere down the line in order to bring your “account” back into balance.

The NIGMS (either the best, or worst acronym ever) gives a guide for maintaining proper sleeping habits so as to avoid the sleep debt. Follow these steps to set your sleep cycle to regular:

Aim for at least seven and a half hours of sleep every night. Make sure you don’t fall farther in debt by blocking off enough time for sleep each night. Consistency is the key;

Settle short-term sleep debt with an extra hour or two per night. If you lost 10 hours of sleep, pay the debt back in nightly one or two-hour installments;

Keep a sleep diary. Record when you go to bed, when you get up, your total hours of sleep, and how you feel during the day. As you keep track of your sleep, you’ll discover your natural patterns and get to know your sleep needs;

Take a sleep vacation to pay off a long-term sleep debt. Pick a two-week period when you have a flexible schedule. Go to bed at the same time every night and allow yourself to sleep until you wake up naturally. No alarm clocks! If you continue to keep the same bedtime and wake up naturally, you’ll eventually dig your way out of debt and arrive at the sleep schedule that’s ideal for you;

Make sleep a priority. Just as you schedule time for work and other commitments, you should schedule enough time for sleep. Instead of cutting back on sleep in order to tackle the rest of your daily tasks, put sleep at the top of your to-do list.

Doing these activities will help restore your body’s sleep cycle properly giving you the energy and fortitude of will to achieve your daily goals. The importance of sleep is probably something that you’ve heard about on and off your entire life and for good reason! Sleep is something that your body absolutely needs to be healthy. Your sleep cycle is important to your daily functioning.