Sunday, March 8, most Americans adjusted their clocks forward, some of whom lost an hour of their regular sleep, because of daylight savings time.

For those who wanted someone to blame for the DST, the Germans were actually the ones who started adjusting their clocks forward by one hour in 1916 with the objective of conserving energy during World War I.

In 1918, Europe and U.S followed albeit they dropped and only adopted the DST again during World War II.  It was permanently brought back in the U.S. in 1966 through the Uniform Time Act of 1966.  In 2005, DST was lengthened by a month as part of an energy bill citing a need to reduce the country's dependency on foreign oil.

The concept of daylight savings times is to reduce the use of residential electricity, which tend to be heaviest by night. People have to start and end their work earlier so they do not have to turn on the lights at least for an hour when they reach their still sunny home from work.

Unfortunately, studies suggest that the energy saving brought about by the time adjustment is paltry. In one study, the California Energy Commission found that only 0.18 percent is being saved at best. Other studies likewise indicated that while people may use less electric light, they may use more of other kinds of energy.

A study in Indiana also found a slight increase in the use of energy after the state adopted DST. Experts believe that the increase in energy usage could be blamed on more air conditioning being used in the evening.

The DST is also associated not just with paltry energy savings. Experts, for instance, said that the time adjustment is linked with increased incidence of heart attacks and traffic accidents. Daylight savings time may also have unwanted effect on people suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder.

"Our circadian rhythms were set eons ago to a rhythm that didn't include daylight savings time, so the shift tends to throw people off a bit," said Nicholas Rummo, from the Center for Sleep Medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt. Kisco, New York.

Some have already been calling for the abolition of daylight savings time citing that Americans who live in Hawaii and Arizona, as well as those who live in other territories have been fine even without the DST.

Photo: Simon Law | Flickr 

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