This is the weekend we “Spring Forward” one hour for Daylight Savings Time. This is the weekend you want to set your clocks ahead one hour before you go to sleep. We’ve always followed this biannual ritual of switching our clocks around, but what is Daylight Savings Time? Where did come from?
Daylight Savings Time Origins
Many think that Benjamin Franklin came up with the idea of Daylight Savings Time so that farmers had more daylight hours to work their fields. It actually got its origin during World War I when Britain and Germany used it to save energy during the war. The US gave it a try in 1918, but quickly ditched the idea when it didn’t catch on.
DST in the USA
Daylight Savings Time didn’t become a big deal in the US until WWII, when Americans “sprung forward” in February 1942 and didn’t “fall back” until September 1945. If changing time wasn’t confusing enough, there wasn’t a set date for changing the clocks and made in hard to coordinate transportation and broadcasting schedules. Massive confusion abounded until 1966 when Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, which brought the time change for everyone on the same day.
Arizona and Hawaii do not observe Daylight Savings Time, nor do the US territories of Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa. Hawaii and the tropically-located US territories see no benefit of extra daylight since amount of daylight does not vary with the seasons. And it’s probably for the best in Arizona. Who would really want an extra hour of sweltering daytime heat?
Not Really Saving Daylight
Almost as long as DST has been in existence, it’s been a source of contention. For one, it doesn’t really save all that much energy. Secondly, it not only messes up your sleep schedule, but it also puts some folks at higher risk of a heart attack from the time change stress. There is also the danger of darker mornings in some places creating hazards for commuters and school children.
The Disappearing Hour
Daylight Savings Time officially begins at 2:00AM, which will actually disappear altogether as we spring forward to 3:00AM. After that, we can all look forward to 2:00AM November 4th, when we “fall back” an hour, also getting to experience 2:00AM twice.