There are calls to end the semi-annual practice of putting our clocks backwards and forwards an hour. It is done by forwarding clocks by one hour in the spring so that evening daylight lasts an hour longer and then putting them back in the autumn. This is done in many parts of the world and is called Daylight Saving Time (DST). Scientists are questioning the value of tinkering with time. They say changing the clocks could actually be harmful to our health and increase energy costs. The States of California and Massachusetts in the USA are considering unilaterally abandoning DST. Lawmakers there feel it has no relevance today when we have electric lights and people work around the clock.
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Those in support of DST argue that it saves energy because lights are turned on later. They argue it promotes outdoor leisure activities in the summer evening, and is therefore good for physical and psychological health. They also say it reduces traffic accidents and crime. People who tend to support DST are city workers, retail businesses, outdoor sports enthusiasts and businesses, tour operators, and others who benefit from increased light during the evening in summer. Opponents say it increases energy costs and causes health risks. The incidence of heart attacks and strokes can increase due to changes in the circadian cycle (our body clock). With less rest, people make more mistakes, so accidents increase.