Hate daylight saving time? You may have a point, researchers say

NEW YORK (Reuters) - For most Americans, daylight saving time means only one thing: losing an hour's sleep. So what is the point?

This is actually a reasonable question, according to a growing body of scientific research.

Daylight saving time is the practice of moving clocks forward by one hour during summer months so that daylight lasts longer into evening. Most of North America and Europe follows the custom, while the majority of countries elsewhere do not.

When clocks in almost all of the United States spring forward by an hour at 2 a.m. on Sunday, it will likely prompt an increase in heart attacks and strokes, cause more car accidents and reduce worker productivity, according to studies. It will also fail to cut the nation's energy bill, contrary to what the experts once believed.

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Benjamin Franklin essentially came up with this glorious time exchange in 1741, when he was an ambassador for Paris.Though it wasn't until World War I that Europe truly started to implement Daylight Saving Time in order to bolster their war efforts.

DST before 2007 used to fall a few days before Halloween, but since the holiday tends to come with increased accidents it was moved to the first Sunday in November, according to Acurite.

Though, some dispute that the change was made to allow Trick or Treaters to stay out longer. 

Circa 1955: Silhouette of a witch on a broomstick flying over the skyline of New York City, Halloween.

(Photo by Lambert/Getty Images)

Arizona and Hawaii are the only two U.S. states that don't observe Daylight Saving Time. Pro: they don't have to worry about changing their clocks. Con: they never 'gain an hour.'

When World War II came around-- saving time was fashionable again and everyone wanted to get their hands on daylight saving time. However, it was near complete confusion in the United States-- there was no uniformity. According to Live Science, "One 35-mile bus ride from Moundsville, W.Va., to Steubenville, Ohio, took riders through no less than seven different time changes."

It was officially adopted by the U.S. in 1966. 

DST can affect the time you're born-- on paper that is. A baby could be born at 1:55 a.m. during daylight saving time, with another born ten minutes later, marked as 1:05 a.m.

Freaky, huh?

We hate to be that person-- but Daylight Saving Time is not plural, though many say and spell it as such. So, if you want to be that person you can spend the day correcting all of your friends when they say "daylight savings time."
Many countries near the equator do not adjust their clocks for daylight saving. Japan and China don't observe DST at all, and Antarctica doesn't either.
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In December, a psychology journal published results showing that federal judges handed out sentences that were on average 5 percent longer the day after daylight saving time began than those given out one week before or after.

Disruptions, even minor ones, to human beings' sleep patterns can have outsized effects, according to researchers.

"Our study suggests that sudden, even small changes in sleep could have detrimental effects," Amneet Sandhu of the University of Colorado told Reuters in 2014 after his study of Michigan hospital data showed a 25 percent jump in heart attacks on the Monday after daylight saving time began.

Daylight saving time, which runs until the fall, was widely adopted during World War Two as an energy-saving measure. The rationale was that a later sunset meant people would spend fewer hours using lights inside their homes in the evening.

But studies have generally failed to show significant energy savings associated with the shift.

Plenty of people expressed frustration on social media on Saturday, as the prospect of losing an hour's sleep loomed large.

"Daylight Savings Time seems like a communist plot to get us all confused and tired and thinking the government wants to help us," wrote Twitter user Michael Farris Jr.

Abolishing daylight saving time – or conversely, extending it year-round – would require a law passed by U.S. Congress. States are allowed to opt out of daylight saving time, but all states are required to follow standard time from November to March.

Legislators in some states have tried unsuccessfully to pass laws abandoning daylight saving time, but Arizona and Hawaii are the only states that do not reset their clocks twice a year. For everyone else, Sunday morning will come just a little bit earlier than usual.

(Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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