Daylight saving time (DST) isn't all bad. In fact, when we move an hour ahead, we enjoy more daytime hours and use less energy. Learn reasons not to dread this time of the year.
We know it’s not fun “springing forward” each year. In fact, though it’s only one day, it throws off your entire schedule, and the sleep effects tend to linger for a few days, right? What’s to appreciate about that? Surprisingly, several things.
Benefits of Daylight Saving Time
Daylight saving time (often mistaken as “daylight savings time”) is the practice of setting the clocks forward one hour from standard time in the spring and backwards one hour in the fall. The “springing forward” usually occurs in March or April, and the “falling back” follows sometime between September and November. The purpose of such a seemingly trivial act? To make better use of natural daylight.
Although less than 40 percent of the countries around the world use daylight saving time, the United States implemented it in 1918, and it doesn’t appear like it’s going to change anytime soon.
So, need a reason not to dread getting out of bed an hour earlier on March 12? Consider these four benefits of daylight saving time:
1. There’s more light to enjoy in the evening.
What’s better: Only a fleeting moment of daylight before work (and driving home in the dark) or being able to enjoy the daylight well into the evening hours? That’s what we thought. More light = more time to do what you want or need to do = a happier you.
2. The crime rate drops during daylight saving time.
Research has shown that robbery rates after daylight saving time fall an average of 7 percent, with a much larger 27 percent drop during those light-filled evening hours that didn’t exist before the time change. Mind. Blown.
3. It minimizes energy consumption (and lowers your costs).
When you enjoy more natural daylight, you use less artificial light — and that makes a real impact on the overall cost of energy consumption.
4. It lowers the incidence of traffic accidents.
Like driving home in the daylight versus the darkness, driving is easier when you can see your surroundings and where you’re going, right? Duh! Studies actually show that we could save hundreds of lives per year if we implemented daylight saving time year-round.
How to Prepare for Daylight Saving Time
Regardless of the benefits, we can’t lie: It’s still going to be a jolt to your typical routine. To make the time change easier, though, follow these four practices before the big day:
Reset your clocks the night before.
Sure, your phone, computer and cable box are going to automatically update, but what about that clock on your microwave? Your oven? Or the one on the wall by your desk? Avoid confusion (and annoyance, for that matter) by turning the clocks ahead one hour beforehand.
Catch some extra ZZZs.
The best way to prepare for the lost hour of sleep is to build up to it. For example, starting several days before the time change, make sure your family members are in bed 15–30 minutes before their regular bedtimes. It also helps to ensure you’re well rested the week before.
Get your house prepared.
Daylight saving time means summer’s around the corner. Unfortunately, that also means you’ll be cranking up your air conditioner soon (if you’re not already). Armed with the true daylight saving spirit, consider executing energy-saving tips for your home.
It’s inevitable: You’re going to come across people who were “surprised” by the time change — and they won’t be happy about it. Just keep the above-mentioned benefits of daylight saving time in mind and don’t fall victim to their bad moods. Besides, if you’ve utilized the previous tips, you’re well prepared. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even realize that you don’t dread “springing forward” after all.