In many parts of the world, it is common practice for everyone to change the time on their clocks during the summer months so that they wake up earlier. This is done to increase the amount of daylight that is available in summer evenings and is known as daylight saving time.
- What is daylight saving time?
- Why do we have daylight saving time?
- Who invented daylight saving time?
- Which countries use daylight saving time?
What is Daylight Saving Time?
Daylight saving time is a way of artificially giving ourselves more light in the evening. By changing the time, we all shift our day patterns so that we wake up earlier. By starting our days earlier, the light lasts for longer in the evening.
In countries that use daylight saving time, clocks jump forward by one hour in the spring. This means that when daylight saving time starts, everyone has to wake up one hour earlier than usual.
If you normally wake up at 7 AM, after your clock changes, and you wake up at 7 AM, this is actually your old 6 AM. So, when it's 7 PM, it's actually 6 PM, and you get an extra hour of light in the evening.
Why Do We Have Daylight Saving Time?
While there are many ideas as to why everyone decided they wanted more light in the evenings, it is generally agreed that people just think it makes their lives more enjoyable.
People can use the extra light to do evening activities, like sports and socializing. On top of this, there are also people who say that daylight saving time has helped to reduce energy consumption. Where people previously needed to use energy for things like lighting and using household appliances in the evening, they no longer need to do so.
Who Invented Daylight Saving Time?
The first known person to have suggested introducing an official daylight saving time was Benjamin Franklin. In 1784, he jokingly suggested that changing the day pattern in summer would cut candle usage. While he was not entirely serious, people did notice his idea.
Later in 1907, a British man named William Willett suggested the same idea more seriously. Luckily for him, people thought it was a good idea.
Before it was introduced in Germany and Austria and, in 1916, it was introduced to the UK.
While it was around this time that daylight saving time became an official thing, it is worth pointing out that people had been shifting their day patterns according to sunlight availability for a very long time. While methods were different, even ancient civilizations had ways of changing their clocks to accommodate a shift in times when more light was available.
Which Countries Use Daylight Saving Time?
Daylight saving time is used in countries that aren't too close to the equator. Countries that are closer to the equator have a much more regular amount of daylight throughout the year. In these countries, there is no need to change the time.
As you get further from the equator, the amount of daylight changes more throughout the year.
This is because of the way the earth orbits the sun. The earth takes one year to go around the sun, and as it goes around, it is tilted at the equator by 23.5 degrees.
When the earth is on one side of the sun, the half which is tilted towards it gets more sun, making it summertime. When the earth gets to the other side of the sun (after six months), the side of the earth which is tilted towards it changes.
The further you get away from the equator, the bigger the difference is.