Industrialized societies generally 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 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. However, they will have one less hour of daylight at the start of each day, making the policy less practical during winter.
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. 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 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. 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. 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.