Tomorrow, Sunday, March 10th, clocks will be set forward one hour, indicating the beginning of Daylight Saving Time (DST) for much of the country.
The spring forward shifts additional daylight into the evening. The time change doesn’t happen at midnight like some expect, instead it happens at 2 A.M. when most people are in bed. This was done to try to cause minimal disruption and confusion. By waiting until 2 A.M. to give or take an hour it prevents the date from switching. It is also when the fewest trains are running, before most early shift workers leave for work, and most bars and restaurants are already closed.
DST has been widely accepted across the country, but it’s not mandated by federal law and is not observed nationwide. If you really cant stand springing forward and falling back each year you may consider moving to Arizona who has opted out since 1968. Arizona summers are very hot, and an earlier sunset gives residents more time to enjoy tolerable temperatures before bed. Hawaii also opts out, given Hawaii’s latitude it doesn’t see a noticeable daylight hour difference between winter and summer months so extending daylight wouldn’t make much difference.
Where did this Daylight Saving Time originate? Benjamin Franklin introduced the concept in 1784 after visiting Paris stating that longer daylight hours would save on candle use. The first documented written proposal for Daylight Savings Time was put forward by William Willett in 1907. Willett argued that we were wasting important daylight by rising at the same time in the summer as we did throughout the winter months. In 1916, Germany was first to adopt the idea to attempt to conserve coal during World War I, then Britain, along with many other European nations, followed suit. It wasn’t until 1918 that the time change spread to the U.S.. When the first time Daylight Saving was instituted year-round in the US, it was called “War Time”. Time zones were called “Eastern War Time”, “Central War Time”, and “Pacific War Time”. After the surrender of Japan in mid-August 1945, the time zones were relabeled “Eastern Peace Time”, “Central Peace Time” and “Pacific Peace Time”. Most countries, including the U.S., ceased official observation of the switch following wartime. Daylight Saving Time was re-introduced in the US in the beginning of 1974 to save energy. At the time, the US was in the middle of a nationwide energy crisis and the government was looking for ways to reduce public consumption.
Even though Daylight Saving Time was implemented to save fuel, there is no actual evidence that DST reduces energy use. While it’s true that changing the clocks can save residents money on lighting, the cost of heating and air conditioning tends to increase. That extra hour of daylight is only beneficial when people are willing to go outside to enjoy it. It’s probably fair to say that especially in today’s world, energy-wise, it’s pretty much a wash.
Daylight Saving Time has been a topic of debate in our country for decades not only because of its questionable effect on energy conservation, but also because of its impact on the agriculture, hospitality and retail industries as well as human health.
Most health professionals feel DST should be abolished or implemented year-round. They feel the change is it is disruptive to our bodies, especially in the Spring when we “lose” and hour. Studies show that the extra hour of sleep we lose by springing ahead can have an adverse impact on our overall health. In the days after Daylight Saving Time starts, our biological clocks are a little bit off. One hour of lost sleep may sound insignificant, but small disruptions in our sleep patterns have been shown to dull our senses and diminish our mental capacity. An increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and susceptibility to illness have all been linked to the change in time.
Many east coast residents believe that daylight saving time shift into the evening should be extended year-round. They believe the extension would positively impact our health, economy, social lives and community. It’s interesting to think about. How would our patterns change, if at all? The length of light we experience each day wouldn’t change; that’s determined by our location and the tilt of Earth. However, we would experience more light during times that better accommodate our modern lives. If daylight saving were always in effect most people argue that we could enjoy after-work light hours— and there’s a strong believe that this after-work light is worth more to us than morning light. Children get more exercise when the sun is out later and can play outside in the evening. Adults would engage in more leisure activities after work, meet a friend for drink or be encouraged to shop a little later.
What do you think? If you had a choice would you prefer more light hours in the morning or evening? Well regardless of your preference, as residents of Long Island, Daylight Saving Time will begin again tomorrow. Time will spring forward and you will be losing an hour of sleep this weekend. Don’t forget to check your clocks to be sure they “Spring Ahead” tomorrow!
Fun Daylight Saving Time Facts:
- Last year, DST began on March 11 and ended on Nov. 4. And this year, DST will begin on March 10 and ends on Nov. 3, 2019. You will then move your clock forward an hour on March 8, 2020, and the cycle will begin again.
- In 1930, Stalin adopted Daylight Saving Time for Soviet Union, but he forgot to “Fall Back” and it stayed this way for the next 60 years.
- During the 1950s and 60s, each U.S. region could begin and end Daylight Saving Time whenever they wanted. Due to widespread chaos, Congress passed the Uniform Time act of 1966, which created a standard time.
- In 1987, Chile delayed Daylight Saving Time to accommodate a visit from the Pope. Chile also delayed switching the time in 1990 for a presidential inauguration.
- In September 1999, daylight saving time helped prevent a terrorist bombing. When West Bank terrorists failed to realize that Israel had switched back to standard time, their bombs exploded an hour too early—killing three terrorists instead of the intended victims.
- In 2012, a guy in Ohio was arrested twice in one day, at the exact same time, due to Daylight Saving Time
- DST costs the U.S. billions of dollars a year in disruptions to the airline and retail industry, TV ratings and the stock market
- A 2014 a poll found that an increasing number of Americans do not think daylight savings is worth the hassle. In 2014 33% of Americans supported the time change, down from 45% the year before.
- Researchers found a 2% decrease in SAT scores when the tests were administered after Daylight Saving Time.
- Surfing the web for enjoyment during work hours, increases significantly the first Monday after Daylight Saving Time begins in the spring. Researchers attributed this increase to lack of sleep and thus lack of focus and motivation.
- Globally, about one-quarter of people in approximately 70 countries around the world implement Daylight Saving Time, though different countries change their clocks at different times. The only major industrialized countries that do not observe DST are Japan, India, and China.