This morning, just after 1:59 AM the first time locally, people in most of the United States and Canada changed their clocks, or had a computer somewhere do it for them, back one hour to signal the end of Daylight Savings Time. For the next 4-and-a-half months, Americans and Canadians in 48 states, 9 provinces, and 3 territories will exist in their Standard Time Zone, before reverting back to Daylight Savings Time on March 9. Many people have been calling for the abolition of DST for various reasons, citing its dated nature and the fact that the rest of the world outside the West do not practice it. However, there are some benefits to DST, according to supporters. Let us look into the arguments for the continuation of DST.
The general reason for supporting DST is that it adds more leisure time, to a certain extent. By having more daylight hours in the day after work, in particular, grants people the benefit of having more time to do special activities that require daylight, be it sports, exercise, collecting insects, or other things. This is particularly useful in the summertime, when there is more of a opportunity to do these activities. Consequently, Daylight Savings Time is simply referred to in Europe as "summer time."
Daylight Savings Time also benefit specific industries in the service sector, which is becoming the primary source of business in the United States. The extra hour of sunlight will bring in shoppers, who are less inclined to visit a store in the dark of evening. Of course, some activities lose out to the extra hour of sunlight from DST, particularly evening entertainment, but the warm weather would dissuade most people to be indoors anyway, so it balances out to a certain degree.
Here is a chart representing the supposed benefits of Daylight Savings Time to one's health.
More importantly, though, Daylight Savings Time can be useful in one's health. Humanity has been made to wake with the sunrise over aeons, and the creation of mechanical timekeeping subverted that due to the nature of a consistent time running in contradiction to the amount of daylight fluctuating over the course of the year. By having DST, humans can wake more closely to the sunrise.
In all, there really is not much of a case for or against Daylight Savings Time. We here at Carbonated.TV do not favor one side or another in this situation, but we do favor the extra hour of sleep we got last night.
(Image Sources: Invent2HelpAll, Flickr: MaestroBen, ohad*)