Daylight saving time

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World map. Europe, most of North America, parts of southern South America and southeastern Australia, and a few other places use DST. Most of equatorial Africa and a few other places near the equator have never used DST. The rest of the landmass is marked as formerly using DST.
Daylight saving time regions:
  Northern hemisphere summer
  Southern hemisphere summer
  Formerly used daylight saving
  Never used daylight saving

Daylight saving time (DST), also daylight savings time or daylight time (United States and Canada) and summer time (United Kingdom, European Union, and others), is the practice of advancing clocks during warmer months so that darkness falls later each day according to the clock. The typical implementation of DST is to set clocks forward by one hour in the spring ("spring forward") and set clocks back by one hour in autumn ("fall back") to return to standard time.[1][2] In other words, there is one 23-hour day in late winter or early spring and one 25-hour day in the autumn.

George Hudson proposed the idea of daylight saving in 1895.[3] The German Empire and Austria-Hungary organized the first nationwide implementation starting on April 30, 1916. Many countries have used it at various times since then, particularly since the 1970s energy crisis. DST is generally not observed near the equator, where sunrise and sunset times do not vary enough to justify it. Some countries observe it only in some regions; for example, parts of Australia observe it, while other parts do not.[4] Only a minority of the world's population uses DST; Asia and Africa generally do not observe it.

DST clock shifts sometimes complicate timekeeping and can disrupt travel, billing, record keeping, medical devices, heavy equipment,[5] and sleep patterns.[6] Computer software often adjusts clocks automatically, but policy changes by various jurisdictions of DST dates and timings may be confusing.[7]


Industrialized societies usually follow a clock-based schedule for daily activities that do not change throughout the course of the year. The time of day that individuals begin and end work or school, and the coordination of mass transit, for example, usually remain constant year-round. In contrast, an agrarian society's daily routines for work and personal conduct are more likely governed by the length of daylight hours[8][9] and by solar time, which change seasonally because of the Earth's axial tilt. North and south of the tropics daylight lasts longer in summer and shorter in winter, with the effect becoming greater the further one moves away from the tropics.

By synchronously resetting all clocks in a region to one hour ahead of standard time, individuals who follow such a year-round schedule will wake an hour earlier than they would have otherwise; they will begin and complete daily work routines an hour earlier, and they will have available to them an extra hour of daylight after their workday activities.[10][11] However, they will have one less hour of daylight at the start of each day, making the policy less practical during winter.[12][13]

While the times of sunrise and sunset change at roughly equal rates as the seasons change, proponents of daylight saving time argue that most people prefer a greater increase in daylight hours after the typical "nine to five" workday.[14][15] Supporters have also argued that DST decreases energy consumption by reducing the need for lighting and heating, but the actual effect on overall energy use is heavily disputed.

The manipulation of time at higher latitudes (for example Iceland, Nunavut, Scandinavia or Alaska) has little impact on daily life, because the length of day and night changes more extremely throughout the seasons (in comparison to other latitudes), and thus sunrise and sunset times are significantly out of phase with standard working hours regardless of manipulations of the clock.[16] DST is also of little use for locations near the equator, because these regions see only a small variation in daylight in the course of the year.[17] The effect also varies according to how far east or west the location is within its time zone, with locations farther east inside the time zone benefiting more from DST than locations farther west in the same time zone.[18]


A water clock. A small human figurine holds a pointer to a cylinder marked by the hours. The cylinder is connected by gears to a water wheel driven by water that also floats, a part that supports the figurine.
An ancient water clock that lets hour lengths vary with season.

Ancient civilizations adjusted daily schedules to the sun more flexibly than DST does, often dividing daylight into 12 hours regardless of daytime, so that each daylight hour became progressively longer during spring and shorter during autumn.[19] For example, the Romans kept time with water clocks that had different scales for different months of the year; at Rome's latitude, the third hour from sunrise (hora tertia) started at 09:02 solar time and lasted 44 minutes at the winter solstice, but at the summer solstice it started at 06:58 and lasted 75 minutes.[20] From the 14th century onwards, equal-length civil hours supplanted unequal ones, so civil time no longer varied by season. Unequal hours are still used in a few traditional settings, such as some monasteries of Mount Athos[21] and all Jewish ceremonies.[22]

Benjamin Franklin published the proverb "early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise",[23][24] and published a letter in the Journal de Paris during his time as an American envoy to France (1776–1785) suggesting that Parisians economize on candles by rising earlier to use morning sunlight.[25] This 1784 satire proposed taxing window shutters, rationing candles, and waking the public by ringing church bells and firing cannons at sunrise.[26] Despite common misconception, Franklin did not actually propose DST; 18th-century Europe did not even keep precise schedules. However, this changed as rail transport and communication networks required a standardization of time unknown in Franklin's day.[27]

In 1810, the Spanish National Assembly Cortes of Cádiz issued a regulation that moved certain meeting times forward by one hour from May 1 to September 30 in recognition of seasonal changes, but it did not actually change the clocks. It also acknowledged that private businesses were in the practice of changing their opening hours to suit daylight conditions, but they did so of their own volition.[28][29]

Fuzzy head-and-shoulders photo of a 40-year-old man with a mustache.
George Hudson invented modern DST, proposing it first in 1895.

New Zealand entomologist George Hudson first proposed modern DST. His shift-work job gave him leisure time to collect insects and led him to value after-hours daylight.[3] In 1895, he presented a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society proposing a two-hour daylight-saving shift,[10] and considerable interest was expressed in Christchurch; he followed up with an 1898 paper.[30] Many publications credit the DST proposal to prominent English builder and outdoorsman William Willett,[31] who independently conceived DST in 1905 during a pre-breakfast ride when he observed how many Londoners slept through a large part of a summer day.[15] Willett also was an avid golfer who disliked cutting short his round at dusk.[32] His solution was to advance the clock during the summer months, and he published the proposal two years later.[33] Liberal Party member of parliament Robert Pearce took up the proposal, introducing the first Daylight Saving Bill to the House of Commons on February 12, 1908.[34] A select committee was set up to examine the issue, but Pearce's bill did not become law and several other bills failed in the following years. Willett lobbied for the proposal in the UK until his death in 1915.

Port Arthur, Ontario, Canada was the first city in the world to enact DST, on July 1, 1908.[35][36] This was followed by Orillia, Ontario, introduced by William Sword Frost while mayor from 1911 to 1912.[37] The first states to adopt DST (German: Sommerzeit) nationally were those of the German Empire and its World War I ally Austria-Hungary commencing April 30, 1916, as a way to conserve coal during wartime. Britain, most of its allies, and many European neutrals soon followed. Russia and a few other countries waited until the next year, and the United States adopted daylight saving in 1918. Most jurisdictions abandoned DST in the years after the war ended in 1918, with exceptions including Canada, the UK, France, Ireland, and the United States.[38] It became common during World War II, and was widely adopted in America and Europe from the 1970s as a result of the 1970s energy crisis. Since then, the world has seen many enactments, adjustments, and repeals.[39] For specific details, see Daylight saving time by country.


Diagram of a clock showing a transition from 02:00 to 03:00
When DST observation begins, clocks are advanced by one hour (as if to skip one hour) during the very early morning.
Diagram of a clock showing a transition from 03:00 to 02:00
When DST observation ends and standard time observation resumes, clocks are turned back one hour (as if to repeat one hour) during the very early morning. Specific times of the clock change vary by jurisdiction.

The relevant authorities usually schedule clock changes to occur at (or soon after) midnight, and on a weekend, in order to lessen disruption to weekday schedules.[40] A one-hour change is customary, but twenty-minute and two-hour change have been used in the past. In all countries that observe daylight saving time seasonally (i.e. during summer and not winter), the clock is advanced from standard time to daylight saving time in the spring, and they are turned back from daylight saving time to standard time in the autumn. The practice therefore reduces the number of civil hours in the day of the springtime change, and it increases the number of civil hours in the day of the autumnal change. For a midnight change in spring, a digital display of local time would appear to jump from 23:59:59.9 to 01:00:00.0. For the same clock in autumn, the local time would appear to repeat the hour preceding midnight, i.e. it would jump from 23:59:59.9 to 23:00:00.0.

In most countries that observe seasonal daylight saving time, the clock observed in winter is legally named "standard time",[41] in accordance with the standardization of time zones to agree with the local mean time near the center of each region.[42] An exception exists in Ireland, where its winter clock has the same offset (UTC±00:00) and legal name as that in Britain (Greenwich Mean Time)—but while its summer clock also has the same offset as Britain's (UTC+01:00), its legal name is Irish Standard Time[43][44] as opposed to British Summer Time.[45]

While most countries that change clocks for daylight saving time observe standard time in winter and DST in summer, Morocco observes (since 2019) daylight saving time every month but Ramadan. During the holy month (the date of which is determined by the lunar calendar and thus moves annually with regard to the Gregorian calendar), the country's civil clocks observe Western European Time (UTC+00:00, which geographically overlaps most of the nation). At the close of this month, its clocks are turned forward to Western European Summer Time (UTC+01:00), where they remain until the return of the holy month the following year.[46][47][48]

The time at which to change clocks differs across jurisdictions. Members of the European Union conduct a coordinated change, changing all zones at the same instant, at 01:00 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which means that it changes at 02:00 Central European Time (CET), equivalent to 03:00 Eastern European Time (EET). As a result, the time differences across European time zones remain constant.[49][50] North America coordination of the clock change differs, in that each jurisdiction change at 02:00 local time, which temporarily creates unusual differences in offsets. For example, Mountain Time is, for one hour in the autumn, zero hours ahead of Pacific Time instead of the usual one hour ahead, and, for one hour in the spring, it is two hours ahead of Pacific Time instead of one.

Time graph. The horizontal axis shows dates in 2008. The vertical axis shows the UTC offsets of eastern Brazil and eastern U.S. In 2008, the difference between the two is initially three hours; the difference becomes two hours on February 17 at 24:00 Brazil Eastern Time; the difference becomes one hour on March 9 at 02:00 U.S. Eastern Time.
In early 2008, central Brazil was one, two, or three hours ahead of the eastern United States, depending on the date.

The dates on which clocks change vary with location and year; consequently, the time differences between regions also vary throughout the year. For example, Central European Time is usually six hours ahead of North American Eastern Time, except for a few weeks in March and October/November, while the United Kingdom and mainland Chile could be five hours apart during the northern summer, three hours during the southern summer, and four hours for a few weeks per year. Since 1996, European Summer Time has been observed from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October; previously the rules were not uniform across the European Union.[50] Starting in 2007, most of the United States and Canada observed DST from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November, almost two-thirds of the year.[51] Moreover, the beginning and ending dates are roughly reversed between the northern and southern hemispheres because spring and autumn are displaced six months. For example, mainland Chile observes DST from the second Saturday in October to the second Saturday in March, with transitions at 24:00 local time.[52] In some countries time is governed by regional jurisdictions within the country such that some jurisdictions change and others do not; this is currently the case in Australia, Canada, Mexico, and the United States (formerly in Brazil, etc.).[53][54]

From year to year, the dates on which to change clock may also move for political or social reasons. The Uniform Time Act of 1966 formalized the United States' period of daylight saving time observation as lasting six months (it was previously declared locally); this period was extended to seven months in 1986 and to eight months in 2005.[55][56][57] The 2005 extension was motivated in part by lobbyists from the candy industry, seeking to increase profits by including Halloween (October 31) within the daylight saving time period.[58] In recent history, Australian state jurisdictions not only changed at different local times but sometimes on different dates. For example, in 2008 most states there that observed daylight saving time changed clocks forward on October 5, but Western Australia changed on October 26.[59]


Daylight saving has caused controversy since it began.[60] Winston Churchill argued that it enlarges "the opportunities for the pursuit of health and happiness among the millions of people who live in this country"[61] and pundits have dubbed it "Daylight Slaving Time".[62] Retailing, sports, and tourism interests have historically favored daylight saving, while agricultural and evening entertainment interests have opposed it; its initial adoption was prompted by energy crises and war.[63]

The fate of Willett's 1907 proposal illustrates several political issues. It attracted many supporters, including Arthur Balfour, Churchill, David Lloyd George, Ramsay MacDonald, Edward VII (who used half-hour DST at Sandringham or "Sandringham time"), the managing director of Harrods, and the manager of the National Bank. However, the opposition was stronger, including Prime Minister H. H. Asquith, William Christie (the Astronomer Royal), George Darwin, Napier Shaw (director of the Meteorological Office), many agricultural organizations, and theatre owners. After many hearings, the proposal was narrowly defeated in a parliamentary committee vote in 1909. Willett's allies introduced similar bills every year from 1911 through 1914, to no avail.[64] The U.S. was even more skeptical; Andrew Peters introduced a DST bill to the House of Representatives in May 1909, but it soon died in committee.[65]

Poster titled "VICTORY! CONGRESS PASSES DAYLIGHT SAVING BILL" showing Uncle Sam turning a clock to daylight saving time as a clock-headed figure throws his hat in the air. The clock face of the figure reads "ONE HOUR OF EXTRA DAYLIGHT". The bottom caption says "Get Your Hoe Ready!"
Retailers generally favor DST; United Cigar Stores hailed a 1918 DST bill

Germany led the way by starting DST (German: Sommerzeit) during World War I on April 30, 1916 together with its allies to alleviate hardships from wartime coal shortages and air raid blackouts. The political equation changed in other countries; the United Kingdom used DST first on May 21, 1916.[66] U.S. retailing and manufacturing interests led by Pittsburgh industrialist Robert Garland soon began lobbying for DST, but they were opposed by railroads. The U.S.'s 1917 entry to the war overcame objections, and DST was established in 1918.[67]

The war's end swung the pendulum back. Farmers continued to dislike DST, and many countries repealed it after the war, like Germany itself who dropped DST from 1919 to 1939 and from 1950 to 1979.[68] Britain was an exception; it retained DST nationwide but adjusted transition dates over the years for several reasons, including special rules during the 1920s and 1930s to avoid clock shifts on Easter mornings. Now summer time begins annually on the last Sunday in March under a European Community directive, which may be Easter Sunday (as in 2016).[50] The U.S. was more typical; Congress repealed DST after 1919. President Woodrow Wilson was also an avid golfer like Willet, and he vetoed the repeal twice but his second veto was overridden.[69] Only a few U.S. cities retained DST locally,[70] including New York so that its financial exchanges could maintain an hour of arbitrage trading with London, and Chicago and Cleveland to keep pace with New York.[71] Wilson's successor Warren G. Harding opposed DST as a "deception", reasoning that people should instead get up and go to work earlier in the summer. He ordered District of Columbia federal employees to start work at 8 am rather than 9 am during the summer of 1922. Some businesses followed suit, though many others did not; the experiment was not repeated.[11]

Since Germany's adoption in 1916, the world has seen many enactments, adjustments, and repeals of DST, with similar politics involved.[72] The history of time in the United States includes DST during both world wars, but no standardization of peacetime DST until 1966.[73][74] St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, were on different times for two weeks in May 1965 when the capital city decided to join most of the nation by starting daylight saving time, while Minneapolis opted to follow the later date set by state law.[75] In the mid-1980s, Clorox and 7-Eleven provided the primary funding for the Daylight Saving Time Coalition behind the 1987 extension to U.S. DST. Both senators from Idaho, Larry Craig and Mike Crapo, voted for it based on the premise that fast-food restaurants sell more French fries during DST, which are made from Idaho potatoes.[76]

A referendum on daylight saving was held in Queensland, Australia, in 1992, after a three-year trial of daylight saving. It was defeated with a 54.5% "no" vote, with regional and rural areas strongly opposed, while those in the metropolitan southeast were in favor.[77] In 2005, the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association and the National Association of Convenience Stores successfully lobbied for the 2007 extension to U.S. DST.[78] In December 2008, the Daylight Saving for South East Queensland (DS4SEQ) political party was officially registered in Queensland, advocating the implementation of a dual-time zone arrangement for daylight saving in South East Queensland, while the rest of the state maintains standard time.[79] DS4SEQ contested the March 2009 Queensland state election with 32 candidates and received one percent of the statewide primary vote, equating to around 2.5% across the 32 electorates contested.[80] After a three-year trial, more than 55% of Western Australians voted against DST in 2009, with rural areas strongly opposed.[81] Queensland Independent member Peter Wellington introduced the Daylight Saving for South East Queensland Referendum Bill 2010 into the Queensland parliament on April 14, 2010, after being approached by the DS4SEQ political party, calling for a referendum at the next state election on the introduction of daylight saving into South East Queensland under a dual-time zone arrangement.[82] The Bill was defeated in the Queensland parliament on June 15, 2011.[83]

In the UK, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents supports a proposal to observe SDST's additional hour year-round, but that is opposed in some industries, such as postal workers and farmers, and particularly by those living in the northern regions of the UK.[9] In some Muslim countries, DST is temporarily abandoned during Ramadan (the month when no food should be eaten between sunrise and sunset), since the DST would delay the evening dinner. Iran maintains DST during Ramadan,[84] but most Muslim countries do not use DST, partially for this reason.

Russia declared in 2011 that it would stay in DST all year long, followed by a similar declaration from Belarus.[85] Russia's plan generated widespread complaints due to the dark of winter time morning, and thus was abandoned in 2014.[86] The country changed its clocks to standard time on October 26, 2014, and it intends to stay there permanently.[87]

Dispute over benefits and drawbacks

A standing man in three-piece suit, facing camera. He is about 60 and is bald with a mustache. His left hand is in his pants pocket, and his right hand is in front of his chest, holding his pocket watch.
William Willett independently proposed DST in 1907 and advocated it tirelessly.[88]

Proponents of DST generally argue that it saves energy, promotes outdoor leisure activity in the evening (in summer), and is therefore good for physical and psychological health, reduces traffic accidents, reduces crime or is good for business.

Opponents argue that DST disrupts our circadian rhythms, negatively impacting our health,[89][90] that it increases fatal traffic collisions,[91] that the actual energy savings are inconclusive,[92] and that DST increases health risks such as heart attack.[92] Farmers have tended to oppose DST.[93][94]

Having a common agreement about the day's layout or schedule has so many advantages that a standard schedule over whole countries or large areas has generally been chosen over efforts in which some people get up earlier and others do not.[95] The advantages of coordination are so great that many people ignore whether DST is in effect by altering their work schedules to coordinate with television broadcasts or daylight.[96] DST is commonly not observed during most of winter, because the days are shorter then; workers may have no sunlit leisure time, and students may need to leave for school in the dark.[12] Since DST is applied to many varying communities, its effects may be very different depending on their culture, light levels, geography, and climate. Because of this variation, it is hard to make generalized conclusions about the effects of the practice. The costs and benefits may differ between places. Some areas may adopt DST simply as a matter of coordination with other areas rather than for any other benefits.

Energy use

A map of the world, with subtropical climates highlighted
Subtropical climates are highlighted in yellow on this map. People living in these areas may consume more energy as a result of DST.

A 2017 meta-analysis of 44 studies found that DST leads to electricity savings of 0.3% during the days when DST applies.[97][98] The meta-analysis furthermore found that "electricity savings are larger for countries farther away from the equator, while subtropical regions consume more electricity because of DST."[97][98] This means that DST may conserve electricity in some countries, such as Canada and the United Kingdom, but be wasteful in other places, such as Mexico, the southern United States, and northern Africa. The savings in electricity may also be offset by extra use of other types of energy, such as heating fuel.

The period of daylight saving time before the longest day is shorter than the period after, in several countries including the United States and Europe. For example, in the U.S. the period of daylight saving time is defined by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The period for daylight saving time was extended by changing the start date from the first Sunday of April to the second Sunday of March, and the end date from the last Sunday in October to the first Sunday in November.

DST's potential to save energy comes primarily from its effects on residential lighting, which consumes about 3.5% of electricity in the United States and Canada.[99] (For comparison, air conditioning uses 16.5% of energy in the United States.[100]) Delaying the nominal time of sunset and sunrise reduces the use of artificial light in the evening and increases it in the morning. As Franklin's 1784 satire pointed out, lighting costs are reduced if the evening reduction outweighs the morning increase, as in high-latitude summer when most people wake up well after sunrise. An early goal of DST was to reduce evening usage of incandescent lighting, once a primary use of electricity.[101] Although energy conservation remains an important goal,[102] energy usage patterns have greatly changed since then. Electricity use is greatly affected by geography, climate, and economics, so the results of a study conducted in one place may not be relevant to another country or climate.[99]

Several studies have suggested that DST increases motor fuel consumption.[99] The 2008 DOE report found no significant increase in motor gasoline consumption due to the 2007 United States extension of DST.[112]

Economic effects

Those who benefit most from DST are the retailers, sporting goods makers, and other businesses that benefit from extra afternoon sunlight.[103] Having more hours of sunlight in between the end of the typical workday and bedtime induces customers to shop and to participate in outdoor afternoon sports.[113] People are more likely to stop by a store on their way home from work if the sun is still up.[103] In 1984, Fortune magazine estimated that a seven-week extension of DST would yield an additional $30 million for 7-Eleven stores, and the National Golf Foundation estimated the extension would increase golf industry revenues $200 million to $300 million.[114] A 1999 study estimated that DST increases the revenue of the European Union's leisure sector by about 3%.[99]

Conversely, DST can harm some farmers,[92][115] young children, who have difficulty getting enough sleep at night when the evenings are bright,[92] and others whose hours are set by the sun.[116] One reason why farmers oppose DST is that grain is best harvested after dew evaporates, so when field hands arrive and leave earlier in summer, their labor is less valuable.[8] Dairy farmers are another group who complain of the change. Their cows are sensitive to the timing of milking, so delivering milk earlier disrupts their systems.[94][117] Today some farmers' groups are in favor of DST.[118]

DST also hurts prime-time television broadcast ratings,[119][92] drive-ins and other theaters.[120]

Changing clocks and DST rules has a direct economic cost, entailing extra work to support remote meetings, computer applications and the like. For example, a 2007 North American rule change cost an estimated $500 million to $1 billion,[121] and Utah State University economist William F. Shughart II has estimated the lost opportunity cost at around US$1.7 billion.[92] Although it has been argued that clock shifts correlate with decreased economic efficiency, and that in 2000 the daylight-saving effect implied an estimated one-day loss of $31 billion on U.S. stock exchanges,[122] the estimated numbers depend on the methodology.[123] The results have been disputed,[124] and the original authors have refuted the points raised by disputers.[125]

Public safety

In 1975 the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) conservatively identified a 0.7% reduction in traffic fatalities during DST, and estimated the real reduction at 1.5% to 2.0%,[126] but the 1976 NBS review of the DOT study found no differences in traffic fatalities.[12] In 1995 the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimated a reduction of 1.2%, including a 5.0% reduction in crashes fatal to pedestrians.[127] Others have found similar reductions.[128] Single/Double Summer Time (SDST), a variant where clocks are one hour ahead of the sun in winter and two in summer, has been projected to reduce traffic fatalities by 3% to 4% in the UK, compared to ordinary DST.[129] However, accidents do increase by as much as 11% during the two weeks that follow the end of British Summer Time.[130] It is not clear whether sleep disruption contributes to fatal accidents immediately after the spring clock shifts.[131] A correlation between clock shifts and traffic accidents has been observed in North America and the UK but not in Finland or Sweden. Four reports have found that this effect is smaller than the overall reduction in traffic fatalities.[132][133][134][135] A 2009 U.S. study found that on Mondays after the switch to DST, workers sleep an average of 40 minutes less, and are injured at work more often and more severely.[136]

DST likely reduces some kinds of crime, such as robbery and sexual assault, as fewer potential victims are outdoors after dusk.[137][104] Artificial outdoor lighting has a marginal and sometimes even contradictory influence on crime and fear of crime.[138]

In several countries, fire safety officials encourage citizens to use the two annual clock shifts as reminders to replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, particularly in autumn, just before the heating and candle season causes an increase in home fires. Similar twice-yearly tasks include reviewing and practicing fire escape and family disaster plans, inspecting vehicle lights, checking storage areas for hazardous materials, reprogramming thermostats, and seasonal vaccinations.[139] Locations without DST can instead use the first days of spring and autumn as reminders.[140]

A 2017 study in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics estimated that "the transition into DST caused over 30 deaths at a social cost of $275 million annually," primarily by increasing sleep deprivation.[141]

Using a large US database of 732,835 fatal motor vehicle accidents (MVA) recorded from 1996 to 2017, Fritz et al. (2019) found a 6% increase in fatal MVA risk in the workweek following the spring transition to DST, which was more pronounced in the morning and further West of a time zone. There were no effects of the fall-back transition to standard time (ST) on MVA risk, supporting the hypothesis that circadian misalignment and sleep deprivation underlie MVA risk increases.[142]

In March 2020, the Israeli government planned to delay daylight saving in order to discourage gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it was decided this would be too technically difficult to implement at such short notice.[143]


Graph of sunrise and sunset times for 2007. The horizontal axis is the date; the vertical axis is the times of sunset and sunrise. There is a bulge in the centre during summer, when sunrise is early and sunset late. There are step functions in spring and fall, when DST starts and stops.
Clock shifts affecting apparent sunrise and sunset times at Greenwich in 2007[144]
Justification for daylight saving time to the effect that it is a more natural adjustment for people rising with the sun

Experts in circadian rhythms and sleep are warning about the negative health implications of DST. DST cuts on sleep and causes an increased mismatch between the body clock and local time, a condition called social jetlag. Both sleep deprivation and social jetlag have been associated with negative effects on physical and mental health outcomes, including increased risks for diabetes, obesity, heart disease, depression, and some forms of cancer.[89][90][145] Year-round standard time (not year-round DST) is proposed to be the preferred option for public health and safety.[146][147][148][149][150]

In societies with fixed work schedules it provides more afternoon sunlight for outdoor exercise.[151] It alters sunlight exposure; the effects depend on one's location and daily schedule, as sunlight triggers vitamin D synthesis in the skin, but overexposure can lead to skin cancer.[152] DST may help in depression by causing individuals to rise earlier,[153] but some argue the reverse.[154] The Retinitis Pigmentosa Foundation Fighting Blindness, chaired by blind sports magnate Gordon Gund, successfully lobbied in 1985 and 2005 for U.S. DST extensions.[76][78] DST shifts are associated with higher rates of ischemic stroke in the first two days after the shift, though not in the week thereafter.[155]

Clock shifts were found to increase the risk of heart attack by 10 percent,[92] and to disrupt sleep and reduce its efficiency.[6] Effects on seasonal adaptation of the circadian rhythm can be severe and last for weeks.[156] A 2008 study found that although male suicide rates rise in the weeks after the spring transition, the relationship weakened greatly after adjusting for season.[157] A 2008 Swedish study found that heart attacks were significantly more common the first three weekdays after the spring transition, and significantly less common the first weekday after the autumn transition.[158] A 2013 review found little evidence that people slept more on the night after the fall DST shift, even though it is often described as allowing people to sleep for an hour longer than normal. The same review stated that the lost hour of sleep resulting from the spring shift appears to result in sleep loss for at least a week afterward.[159] Even so, a 2014 study conducted in the United States showed that heart attacks decreased significantly after the fall DST shift.[160]

The government of Kazakhstan cited health complications due to clock shifts as a reason for abolishing DST in 2005.[161] In March 2011, Dmitri Medvedev, president of Russia, claimed that "stress of changing clocks" was the motivation for Russia to stay in DST all year long. Officials at the time talked about an annual increase in suicides.[162]

An unexpected adverse effect of daylight saving time may lie in the fact that an extra part of morning rush hour traffic occurs before dawn and traffic emissions then cause higher air pollution than during daylight hours.[163]

In 2017, researchers at the University of Washington and the University of Virginia reported that judges who experienced sleep deprivation as a result of DST tended to issue longer sentences.[164]

Complexity and disadvantages

DST's clock shifts have the obvious disadvantage of complexity. People must remember to change their clocks; this can be time-consuming, particularly for mechanical clocks that cannot be moved backward safely.[165] People who work across time zone boundaries need to keep track of multiple DST rules, as not all locations observe DST or observe it the same way. The length of the calendar day becomes variable; it is no longer always 24 hours. Disruption to meetings, travel, broadcasts, billing systems, and records management is common, and can be expensive.[166] During an autumn transition from 02:00 to 01:00, a clock reads times from 01:00:00 through 01:59:59 twice, possibly leading to confusion.[167]

Lists of time zones and time differences usually do not include daylight saving time, as that is considered complicated and would mean different times over the seasons of the year. For example, UK is usually listed as UTC±00:00, Japan as UTC+09:00, and Sydney as UTC+10:00. But in January, Sydney observes UTC+11:00, and in July, UK observes UTC+01:00, so the differences between all these countries vary during the year. Since lists avoid taking complicated daylight saving time into account, they give wrong information about actual time.

Damage to a German steel facility occurred during a DST transition in 1993, when a computer timing system linked to a radio time synchronization signal allowed molten steel to cool for one hour less than the required duration, resulting in spattering of molten steel when it was poured.[5] Medical devices may generate adverse events that could harm patients, without being obvious to clinicians responsible for care.[168] These problems are compounded when the DST rules themselves change; software developers must test and perhaps modify many programs, and users must install updates and restart applications. Consumers must update devices such as programmable thermostats with the correct DST rules or manually adjust the devices' clocks.[7] A common strategy to resolve these problems in computer systems is to express time using the Coordinated Universal Time with no offset (UTC±00:00; which, depending on time of year, is not always the same as hour as London time) rather than the local time zone. For example, Unix-based computer systems use the UTC-based Unix time internally.

Some clock-shift problems could be avoided by adjusting clocks continuously[169] or at least more gradually[170]—for example, Willett at first suggested weekly 20-minute transitions—but this would add complexity and has never been implemented.

DST inherits and can magnify the disadvantages of standard time. For example, when reading a sundial, one must compensate for it along with time zone and natural discrepancies.[171] Also, sun-exposure guidelines such as avoiding the sun within two hours of noon become less accurate when DST is in effect.[172]


As explained by Richard Meade in the English Journal of the (American) National Council of Teachers of English, the form daylight savings time (with an "s") was already in 1978 much more common than the older form daylight saving time in American English ("the change has been virtually accomplished"). Nevertheless, even dictionaries such as Merriam-Webster's, American Heritage, and Oxford, which describe actual usage instead of prescribing outdated usage (and therefore also list the newer form), still list the older form first. This is because the older form is still very common in print and preferred by many editors. ("Although daylight saving time is considered correct, daylight savings time (with an "s") is commonly used.")[173] The first two words are sometimes hyphenated (daylight-saving(s) time). Merriam-Webster's also lists the forms daylight saving (without "time"), daylight savings (without "time"), and daylight time.[174] The Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style explains the development and current situation as follows: "Although the singular form daylight saving time is the original one, dating from the early 20th century—and is preferred by some usage critics—the plural form is now extremely common in AmE. [...] The rise of daylight savings time appears to have resulted from the avoidance of a miscue: when saving is used, readers might puzzle momentarily over whether saving is a gerund (the saving of daylight) or a participle (the time for saving). [...] Using savings as the adjective—as in savings account or savings bond—makes perfect sense. More than that, it ought to be accepted as the better form."[175]

In Britain, Willett's 1907 proposal[33] used the term daylight saving, but by 1911 the term summer time replaced daylight saving time in draft legislation.[88] The same or similar expressions are used in many other languages: Sommerzeit in German, zomertijd in Dutch, kesäaika in Finnish, horario de verano or hora de verano in Spanish, and heure d'été in French.[66]

The name of local time typically changes when DST is observed. American English replaces standard with daylight: for example, Pacific Standard Time (PST) becomes Pacific Daylight Time (PDT). In the United Kingdom, the standard term for UK time when advanced by one hour is British Summer Time (BST), and British English typically inserts summer into other time zone names, e.g. Central European Time (CET) becomes Central European Summer Time (CEST).

The North American English mnemonic "spring forward, fall back" (also "spring ahead ...", "spring up ...", and "... fall behind") helps people remember in which direction to shift the clocks.[60]


Strong man in sandals and with shaggy hair, facing away from audience/artist, grabbing a hand of a clock bigger than he is and attempting to force it backwards. The clock uses Roman numerals and the man is dressed in stripped-down Roman gladiator style. The text says "You can't stop time... But you can turn it back one hour at 2 a.m. on Oct. 28 when daylight-saving time ends and standard time begins."
A 2001 US public service advertisement reminded people to adjust clocks.

Changes to DST rules cause problems in existing computer installations. For example, the 2007 change to DST rules in North America required that many computer systems be upgraded, with the greatest impact on e-mail and calendar programs. The upgrades required a significant effort by corporate information technologists.[176]

Some applications standardize on UTC to avoid problems with clock shifts and time zone differences.[177] Likewise, most modern operating systems internally handle and store all times as UTC and only convert to local time for display.[178][179]

However, even if UTC is used internally, the systems still require external leap second updates and time zone information to correctly calculate local time as needed. Many systems in use today base their date/time calculations from data derived from the tz database also known as zoneinfo.

IANA time zone database

The tz database maps a name to the named location's historical and predicted clock shifts. This database is used by many computer software systems, including most Unix-like operating systems, Java, and the Oracle RDBMS;[180] HP's "tztab" database is similar but incompatible.[181] When temporal authorities change DST rules, zoneinfo updates are installed as part of ordinary system maintenance. In Unix-like systems the TZ environment variable specifies the location name, as in TZ=':America/New_York'. In many of those systems there is also a system-wide setting that is applied if the TZ environment variable is not set: this setting is controlled by the contents of the /etc/localtime file, which is usually a symbolic link or hard link to one of the zoneinfo files. Internal time is stored in time-zone-independent Unix time; the TZ is used by each of potentially many simultaneous users and processes to independently localize time display.

Older or stripped-down systems may support only the TZ values required by POSIX, which specify at most one start and end rule explicitly in the value. For example, TZ='EST5EDT,M3.2.0/02:00,M11.1.0/02:00' specifies time for the eastern United States starting in 2007. Such a TZ value must be changed whenever DST rules change, and the new value applies to all years, mishandling some older timestamps.[182]

Microsoft Windows

As with zoneinfo, a user of Microsoft Windows configures DST by specifying the name of a location, and the operating system then consults a table of rule sets that must be updated when DST rules change. Procedures for specifying the name and updating the table vary with release. Updates are not issued for older versions of Microsoft Windows.[183] Windows Vista supports at most two start and end rules per time zone setting. In a Canadian location observing DST, a single Vista setting supports both 1987–2006 and post-2006 time stamps, but mishandles some older time stamps. Older Microsoft Windows systems usually store only a single start and end rule for each zone, so that the same Canadian setting reliably supports only post-2006 time stamps.[184]

These limitations have caused problems. For example, before 2005, DST in Israel varied each year and was skipped some years. Windows 95 used rules correct for 1995 only, causing problems in later years. In Windows 98, Microsoft marked Israel as not having DST, forcing Israeli users to shift their computer clocks manually twice a year. The 2005 Israeli Daylight Saving Law established predictable rules using the Jewish calendar but Windows zone files could not represent the rules' dates in a year-independent way. Partial workarounds, which mishandled older time stamps, included manually switching zone files every year[185] and a Microsoft tool that switches zones automatically.[186] In 2013, Israel standardized its daylight saving time according to the Gregorian calendar.[187]

Microsoft Windows keeps the system real-time clock in local time. This causes several problems, including compatibility when multi-booting with operating systems that set the clock to UTC, and double-adjusting the clock when multi-booting different Windows versions, such as with a rescue boot disk. This approach is a problem even in Windows-only systems: there is no support for per-user time zone settings, only a single system-wide setting. In 2008 Microsoft hinted that future versions of Windows will partially support a Windows registry entry RealTimeIsUniversal that had been introduced many years earlier, when Windows NT supported RISC machines with UTC clocks, but had not been maintained.[188] Since then at least two fixes related to this feature have been published by Microsoft.[189][190]

The NTFS file system used by recent versions of Windows stores the file with a UTC time stamp, but displays it corrected to local—or seasonal—time. However, the FAT filesystem commonly used on removable devices stores only the local time. Consequently, when a file is copied from the hard disk onto separate media, its time will be set to the current local time. If the time adjustment is changed, the timestamps of the original file and the copy will be different. The same effect can be observed when compressing and uncompressing files with some file archivers. It is the NTFS file that changes seen time. This effect should be kept in mind when trying to determine if a file is a duplicate of another, although there are other methods of comparing files for equality (such as using a checksum algorithm). A ready clue is if the time stamps differ by precisely 1 hour.

Permanent daylight saving time

A standing stone in a grassy field surrounded by trees. The stone contains a vertical sundial centered on 1 o'clock, and is inscribed "HORAS NON NUMERO NISI ÆSTIVAS" and "SUMMER TIME ACT 1925"
The William Willett Memorial Sundial in Petts Wood, south London, is always on DST.

A move to permanent daylight saving time (staying on summer hours all year with no time shifts) is sometimes advocated and is currently implemented in some jurisdictions such as Argentina, Belarus,[94] Saskatchewan, Yukon, Iceland, Kyrgyzstan, Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica Region, Malaysia, Morocco,[47] Namibia, Singapore, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Advocates cite the same advantages as normal DST without the problems associated with the twice yearly time shifts. However, many remain unconvinced of the benefits, citing the same problems and the relatively late sunrises, particularly in winter, that year-round DST entails.[13] Other reasons for a permanent change of time zone could be a result of following the time zone of a neighboring region, political will, or other causes.

Under German occupation during World War II, "Berlin Time" was imposed in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France, and Spain introduced this too. After the war and with some hesitation, those countries of the UTC±00:00 time zone adopted Central European Time (UTC+01:00) as their standard time. During DST, they are 2 hours ahead.[clarification needed]

Russia switched to permanent DST from 2011 to 2014, but the move proved unpopular because of the late sunrises in winter, so in 2014 Russia switched permanently back to standard time.[191] The United Kingdom and Ireland also experimented with year-round summer time between 1968 and 1971, and put clocks forward by an extra hour during World War II.[192]

In the United States, the Florida, Washington, California, and Oregon legislatures have all passed bills to enact permanent DST, but the bills require Congressional approval in order to take effect. Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island have also introduced proposals or commissions to that effect.[193][194][195][196][197] Although 26 states have considered making DST permanent, unless Congress changes federal law, states cannot implement permanent DST—states can only opt out of DST, not standard time.[198]

Under an EU directive, from 2021 twice-yearly adjustment of clocks will cease. Member states will have the option of observing either standard time or summer time all year round.[199]

Experts in circadian rhythms and sleep caution against permanent daylight saving time, recommending year-round standard time as the preferred option for public health and safety.[146][147][148][149]

Problems with permanent DST

Since daylight saving time creates the illusion of the sun rising and setting one hour later on the clock, but does not add any additional daylight, the already later sunrise times under standard time are pushed an hour later on the clock with daylight saving time. Late sunrise times can become unpopular in the winter months which essentially forces workers and schoolchildren to begin the day in darkness. In 1974 following the enactment of the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Act in the United States, there were complaints of children going to school in the dark and working people commuting and starting their work day in pitch darkness during the winter months. The complaints led to the repeal of the act in October 1974 when standard time was restored until February 23, 1975. In 1976, the United States returned to the schedule set under the Uniform Time Act of 1966. In 1971, year-round daylight time in the United Kingdom was abandoned after a 3-year experiment because of complaints about winter sunrise times. The same complaints also led to Russia abandoning DST and instituting standard time year round in 2014.[191]

By country and region

See also


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