Friday, April 3, 2015

5 Myths about Daylight Saving Time

by Murry Page
2 Apr 15
Daylight saving time (DST) will begin in México on April 5, the first Sunday in April, except for the municipalities located less than 20 kilometers from the USA border. Those municipalities changed to DST on March 8, the second Sunday in March, along with the United States and Canada.

Although the United States adopted DST in 1986, México did no adopt it until 1996. Prior to 1996 the state of Baja California was the only state to observe DST. The state of Sonora has never adopted DST because of the non-observance of DST by Arizona and its important economic ties with that US state.

This will be the first year in which the state of Quintana Roo will not observe DST. That state also changed its time zone this year from Central Standard Time to Eastern Standard Time.
Many people are confused about the origin, which has created several myths. A few of them are:
  • Daylight saving time was meant to help farmers.
This comes from the idea that more daylight means more time in the field for farmers. Michael Downing, who wrote a book about DST, says “The farmers were the reason we never had a peacetime daylight saving time until 1966. They had a powerful lobby and were against it vociferously.” The lost hour of morning light meant they had to rush to get their crops to market.
  • The extra daylight makes us healthier and happier.
Commenting on DST the U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.), said “In addition to the benefits of energy savings, fewer traffic fatalities, more recreation time and increased economic activity, Daylight saving time helps clear away the winter blues a little earlier,” he said in a statement last year. “Government analysis has proven that extra sunshine provides more than just smiles. .?.?. We all just feel sunnier after we set the clocks ahead.”

A little more vitamin D from the sun may be healthy, but not the way DST provides it. Experts have noted that when DST starts and ends there are noticeable spikes in workplace accidents, suicide and headaches. One 2009 study found a 5.7 percent increase in injuries among mine workers in the week after the start of DST, which researchers believe is most likely due to disruption in the workers’ sleep cycles. An Australian study found a slight uptick in male suicides in the weeks following time shifts, which the researchers blamed on the destabilizing effect of sleep disruption on people with mental health problems. Some physicians say that changes in circadian rhythm can trigger cluster headaches, leading to days or weeks of discomfort.
  • It helps us conserve energy.
Representative Fred Upton from Michigan said, “An annual rite of spring, daylight saving time is also a matter of energy conservation. By having a little more natural daylight at our disposal, we can help keep daily energy costs down for families and businesses.”

A study by the California Energy Commission found the energy savings to be a paltry 0.18 percent. An Indiana study found a slight increase in energy use after the entire state adopted DST; the researchers believed that more air conditioning in the evening was largely to blame.

(from The Washington Post)

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