Daylight saving ends: Myths, confusion and sleep as the clocks go back


At 2 a.m. Sunday, summer daylight saving will end and our clocks will jump back an hour.

Given that we get an extra hour in bed, most people tend to prefer falling back than springing forward, even if it does mean the onset of winter.

According to Live Science, as well as the confusion caused by whether clocks go backward or forward (for people who don't remember "spring forward, fall back"), the shift in time can also have a physical impact as well.

Gaining or losing time "messes up our sleep" as it alters our natural body clocks, which has led to people reporting jet lag-like symptoms, and there have been links to a rise in heart attacks the day after time has shifted forward.

In its "Myths and Truths" article about Daylight Saving Time, CNN notes that it was originally introduced after the First World War, with one of the supposed reasons for doing it being that Americans would use less energy by extending summer daylight later into the evening.

Data from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2008 suggested it doesn't really work – saving 0.03 percent energy, while other research suggests people actually increase their usage.

CNN also puts to bed the popular assertion that DST was created to help farmers get their harvest in – noting the proposals were vigorously opposed by farmers who say it cut productivity.

Throughout its almost 100-year history it has had plenty of detractors, with International Business Times summing up a selection of quotes about it.

Former President Harry S. Truman described it as a "monstrosity in timekeeping."

"I don't really care how time is reckoned so long as there is some agreement about it," Canadian novelist Robertson Davies said, "but I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind. I even object to the implication that I am wasting something valuable if I stay in bed after the sun has risen."

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