Like it or not, Daylight Saving Time ends, clocks move back

September 21, 2018

TEHRAN — With autumn setting in gradually Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends and clocks should move back one hour, whether you like it or not.

DST is a seasonal time change measure where clocks are set ahead of standard time with the beginning of spring, usually by 1 hour. As DST starts, the sun rises and sets later, on the clock, than the day before and it ends with the beginning of autumn. 

In Iran the clock moves forward one hour on March 21 (the start of Iranian calendar year) and it will move back after 6 months on the first day of autumn. 

DST was first practiced before the Islamic Revolution of 1979, but it was abolished for some years after the Revolution. Again in 1991 the cabinet of ministers approved a law to practice DST in order to save energy, however, in 2006 the then president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad overturned the law announcing that there is no conclusive proof that Daylight Saving Time is actually contributing to saving energy and that it would also be confusing for many people. 

But again, in 2007 the Majlis [Iranian Parliament] adopted a law which mandated the practice of Daylight Saving Time in the country. Since then the law has remained unchanged. 

History of DST

In general DST is used to save energy and make better use of daylight in about 40 percent of the countries worldwide. According to timeanddate.com it was first used in 1908 in Thunder Bay, Canada.

However, it was Germany that popularized DST. The idea did not catch on globally until Germany introduced DST in 1916. Clocks in the German Empire, and its ally Austria, were turned ahead by 1 hour on April 30, 1916, 2 years into World War I. The rationale was to reduce the use of artificial lighting to save fuel for the war effort. 

And within a few weeks, the idea was followed by the UK, France, and many other countries. Most of them reverted to standard time after World War I, and it wasn’t until World War II that DST made its return in most of Europe.

Benjamin Franklin is also credited with being the first to suggest seasonal time change. Nevertheless, the idea proposed by the American inventor and politician in 1784 can hardly be described as fundamental for the development of modern DST. In a letter to the editor of the Journal of Paris, which was entitled “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light”, Franklin simply suggested that Parisians could economize candle usage by getting people out of bed earlier in the morning. After all, it did not even involve turning the clocks.

Although modern DST has only been used for about 100 years, ancient civilizations are known to have engaged in the same practices thousands of years ago. For example, the Roman water clocks used different scales for different months of the year to adjust the daily schedules to the solar time.

Daylight Saving Time is now being used in over 70 countries worldwide and affects over 1 billion people every year. The beginning and end dates vary from one country to another.

The never ending debate

Those who are in favor of Daylight Saving Time believe that during spring and summer it adds one hour of natural daylight to the afternoon schedule and create more time of recreational activities and encourage people to get out of their houses. 

Despite the fact that DST was introduced to decrease use of artificial lights, hence reduce energy consumption some believe that in recent years it doesn’t actually result in less energy consumption. In modern society, with its computers, TV-screens, and air conditioning units uses more energy, no matter if the sun is up or not. Today, the amount of energy saved from DST is negligible.

Some also feel sick once the time changes. Changing the time, even if it is only by one hour, disrupts our body clocks or circadian rhythm. For most people, the resulting tiredness is an inconvenience. 

For some people, however, the time change can bring about more serious consequences. Studies link the lack of sleep at the start of DST to car accidents, workplace injuries, suicide, and miscarriages. Moreover the early evening darkness after the end of the DST period is linked to depression.

The risk of suffering a heart attack is also increased when DST begins. However, the extra hour of sleep we get at the end of DST has in turn been linked to fewer heart attacks.

On the other hand DST make the evenings lighter and probably safer as it contributes to improved road safety by reducing pedestrian fatalities during dawn and dusk hours and it also results in less robberies.

EU plans to abolish daylight saving time and make summer last forever

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said that the European Union is to propose ending twice-yearly clock changes after a large-scale public survey, CNN reported on September 1.

According to Juncker, more than 80% of EU citizens want to abolish daylight saving time and instead remain on the time used during summer instead.

"Many people are contributing to this debate. We did a survey, a public survey. Millions responded and think that in the future we should have summertime all year round. So that's what will happen."

"The people want this; we will do this," he said.

For any change to go into effect, legislation must be drafted and win approval from the 28 member nations and the European Parliament.

One of the chief critics of daylight saving time has been Finland, which has one of the most northerly capital cities in the EU.

Over 70,000 Finns signed a petition last October to urge the government to move away from daylight saving time.

Is DST unpleasant for you?

At midnight we turned the clocks back an hour to make most of our dwindling exposure to sun as winter is getting closer. 
Whether you like it or not Daylight Saving Time law is still being implemented in Iran. Some may feel frustrated by thinking how it’s actually working by keep asking themselves are we losing an hour, or gaining one.

In order to adjust to the end of the daylight Saving Time you can use the extra hour you get to work out and exercise in the morning which will benefit your health as well. 

When DST ends it might get harder to fall asleep, so you can choose to have a relaxing activity such as reading book to speed the process. 

In order to perk up your mood and avoid depression linked with shorter daylight hours you can take a walk during lunch time and use the sunlight. 

As it gets darker sooner you can take the chance to spend more family time indoors by cooking dinner and watching TV together or play games. 

In order to block out the light which might interfere with your sleep early morning you can use thicker drapes during autumn and winter which may also help in keeping out the winter chill. 

Avoid taking long naps in the afternoons which may hurt your sleep rhythm. 

And last but not least make sure that dinner time and bedtime are far apart so that you can get a healthy sleep as sleeping on full stomach may interfere with sleep quality.

A be grateful, DST ended and you are gaining an hour, before you know DST will start again and you will lose an hour. 

MQ/MG

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