11 Creepy Things About Daylight Saving Time You Probably Didn’t Know
On Nov. 5, we say goodbye to Daylight Saving Time, which means it's time to turn the clocks back by one hour (OK, who am I kidding — 99 percent of your clocks probably do it for you at this point). With this transition comes an extra hour of sleep for one night only, several months of early nightfall, and — for a few days, at least — a whole lot of complaining. And it's totally OK that I say that, because I'm guilty of it myself! I'll readily admit that all things Daylight Saving Time wreak havoc on my very sensitive internal clock, so I have no problem declaring right here, right now that it's a bad, bad thing. But it's not just me! There are actually 11 really creepy things about Daylight Saving Time, so look no further for proof that this whole thing is objectively pretty terrible.
Within a few minutes of researching this article, it became abundantly clear to me that DST is riddled with weirdness, both historically and in the way it affects our lives today. Honestly, I'm more fired up than ever about this so-called "chronological construct," and it's no longer just because I know I'm going to be tired (well, more tired than usual) for a few weeks. This is a very creepy institution, people.
1. We Have A Bug Collector To Thank For It
Yes, that's right — the person you should be shaking your fist at as you navigate the struggles of a disrupted sleep schedule is a 19th-century bug catcher (well, he was a post office employee by day, but he moonlighted as an entomologist). According to Mental Floss, said bug collector was the first person to make a serious case for the living hell that we now know as Daylight Saving Time. Why? Because he needed more daylight for bug catching, naturally.
2. Daylight Saving Time Was Pushed Back A Week In 2007 To Cut Down On Halloween Car Accidents
According to Acu-Rite, Daylight Saving Time was actually pushed back by one week to the first weekend in November 2007. While that delay in itself doesn't sound very creepy, the reason for it is: Children's pedestrian deaths are four times higher on Halloween than they are on any other night of the year, so the 2006 law ensured that kids would still have a few extra hours of sunlight and safety for trick-or-treating.
3. DST Can Change The Official Birth Order For Twins
If one twin is born at 1:55 a.m. on Daylight Saving Time (Nov. 5, this year) and the second twin is born 10 minutes later and five minutes after that 2 a.m. transition time, the second twin is technically born at 1:05 a.m. I have a feeling that DST babies spend many years of their lives fighting that one out. This situation gets even creepier in the spring. When Daylight Saving Time starts in the spring, there is a full hour — between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. — during which no babies are actually born.
4. Some Research Says That It Lowers SAT Scores
Nothing's creepier to a 17-year-old college hopeful than the prospect of the odds being stacked against them in the all-important SAT. Research published in the Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics shows that there is a link between the implementation of Daylight Saving Time and lower test scores. The sleep disruption is no joke, even in high school!
5. The Candy And Barbecue Industries Love DST
When Daylight Saving Time was extended in 2007, the candy and barbecue industries started raking in the extra dough. According to From the Grapevine, an extra month of daylight was once estimated to be worth $100 million for grill companies, in particular. I don't know where you stand on this, but I am personally a little disturbed that any industry is taking pleasure in an event that is so fundamentally annoying to the rest of us.
6. Daylight Saving Time Can Actually Be Really Dangerous
DST has been linked to higher incidence of heart attacks, car accident fatalities, and other scary outcomes. According to Reuters, a 2014 study revealed that the sleep deprivation caused by the weekend transition to Daylight Saving Time raised the risk of having a heart attack the following Monday by 25 percent (compared to other Mondays). A 2016 article published in the American Economic Journal notes that sleep deprivation and the changes to ambient lighting can also cause more car accidents. The upside, of course, is that increased daylight hours in the summer do make for safer driving.
7. DST Can Cause really Bizarre Events — Like The Same Person Being Arrested Twice In One Day... At The Exact Same Time
According to a 2012 article from The Huffington Post, an Ohio man was given a court summons at 1:08 a.m. on Nov. 4, 2012 for driving under the influence of alcohol. Less than an hour later, the clocks turned back an hour for Daylight Saving Time. The same man was arrested at 1:08 a.m. again after being caught almost crashing into a police cruiser. It's like a really terrible, short-term version of Groundhog's Day.
8. No One Really Knows What To Call It
I'm going to be real for a second. Until I started researching DST facts for this article, I thought the whole "spring ahead, fall back" phenomenon was referred to as Daylight Savings Time. Not so. It's actually called Daylight Saving Time (singular), and pretty much everyone on the internet seems to be confused. Why is this creepy? Because we should all know what to call things.
9. It Messes With Our TV-Watching
The TV industry isn't particularly fond of DST, and I don't blame them. The time changes that take place in both the spring and the fall throw off viewership so much that networks almost always see a drop in ratings until audiences adapt to their new routine. Selfishly, I hate it for my own TV schedule too.
10. Daylight Saving Time Can Wreak Havoc On Your Mental Health
DST and the sleep deprivation that comes with it are associated with a host of mental health concerns. You may find yourself more affected by the weather, or you may be more irritable or anxious than usual.
11. It May Cause Cluster Headaches
Yikes. According to Everyday Health, the end of Daylight Saving Time (aka what we're about the experience) can trigger cluster headache, which generally hit you every day for a cycle of roughly six to eight weeks. Grab some extra Tylenol on your way to brunch.