What We Get Wrong About Daylight Saving Time

An extra hour of sleep? Yes please.

Like most college students, an extra hour of sleep without any costs sounds like a miracle to me. That’s why I was so excited when I found out we’d be turning our clocks back an hour on Saturday night for Daylight Saving Time. While thankful for this small gift of sleep after a long week, I began to question why this policy exists at all. I soon discovered everything I thought I knew about it was false


1. Benjamin Franklin didn't actually invent it.

The idea for Daylight Saving Time actually arose in Great Britain in the early 20th century when writer, William Willett published his novel “The Waste of Daylight.” His idea was based on an innocent and sweet idea: people are not enjoying as much sunlight as they could be because they are asleep for some if it. While his efforts to launch this idea into reality in England failed, his ideas inspired other parts of the world to establish this program.

2. It was advertised to benefit agriculture and farmers supported it.

The largest force against Daylight Saving Time was actually farmers, who had less daylight to harvest and tend to their fields. The agrarian population even lobbied against this program and won in 1919 to (temporarily) end the program.

Germany was the first country to establish a Daylight Saving program in 1916, in an attempt to save fuel energy during WW1. The United States followed suit, claiming energy saving purposes as the main reason for the establishment of this program. However, many people claim the true reason lies in economic incentives. But I mean...why else would the US do something?

Because it was lighter outside for longer during the summer, this greatly impacted people’s ability to shop and attend events later in the day. This program increased store revenues because people shopped for longer. Baseball and other recreational programs profited off this extra hour of sunlight in which people were out and about. These advantages still exist today. People are able to shop for longer and sports industries, such as golf, continue to profit off this time change.


3. It's not called "Daylight Savings Time," but rather "Daylight Saving Time."

While this may seem insignificant, I've been saying it wrong my whole life. And I know you have been too.


Sources: 1, 2, 3

Photo credit: 1, 2, 3, 4