What Is Daylight Saving Time? 8 Facts About Why We Spring Forward
The days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer, and it feels like spring is just a second away. Daylight Saving Time is here to make it official this weekend by giving us an extra hour of daylight — score! We've all heard the saying "spring forward, fall back," and as far as clocks go, we know what to do, but what is Daylight Saving Time, exactly, and why do we have it in the first place? The history behind Daylight Saving Time is actually way more complex than you might think.
Honestly, I have mixed feelings when it comes to Daylight Savings. Yes, I'm beyond thrilled that moving the clocks ahead brings us an extra hour of daylight in the evenings — nothing gets me more excited for the prospects of summer than an extra dose of daylight — but on the other hand, parting with a precious of hour sleep in the name of "springing forward" is always a hard thing for me to do. And that's exactly what we're in for this weekend. At 2 a.m. on Sunday March 13, we move our clocks ahead an hour to 3 a.m., meaning if you wake up feeling abnormally tired in the morning, at least you know why. Ugh, what's the point of dreaming about summer if your dreams get cut short by the time change?
But I digress. No matter how you feel about Daylight Savings, it's coming. So, in anticipation, here are eight things you may not have known about why we spring forward:
1. Ben Franklin Isn't Responsible For Daylight Savings
He isn't responsible, but he does get some credit. In 1784, he wrote an essay called "An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light," in which he suggested people wake up an hour earlier in the morning so that they could use more natural light instead of candle light. He was kidding, but the idea apparently resonated. In 1895, New Zealand scientist George Vernon Hudson proposed a two-hour time shift in September and March.
2. Daylight Saving Time Didn't Become Popular Until World War I
DST became recognized in the United States in 1918 as a way to conserve energy during World War I. At that point, similar strategies had already been employed in Germany and Canada. However, it didn't officially become implemented stateside until 1966, when President Lyndon B. Johnson enacted the Uniform Time Act. Up until that point, cities and states across the country implemented their own time changes, which as you can imagine, got to be pretty confusing at times. The Uniform Time Act did exactly what its name implies — made time more uniform.
3. Not Every State Observes Daylight Saving Time
Most of Arizona and Hawaii do not practice Daylight Saving Time. Neither do American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
4. Daylight Saving Time Might Not Increase Energy Conservation At All, Actually
During 1918, the idea was that implementing Daylight Savings would force Americans to maximize natural daylight and cut down on artificial energy consumption. However, recent research conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that in Indiana, a state that only recently converted to Daylight Saving Time in 2006, actually saw a 1 percent increase in the amount of energy that was used since making the switch. Oops.
5. The Average American Worker Loses About 40 Minutes Of Sleep Thanks To DST
According to National Geographic, Daylight Savings royally messes with our sleep schedules. Not only do we get less sleep, but we're also 67 percent more likely to miss work on Monday.
6. Daylight Savings Has Also Been Linked To More Heart Attacks
Like, a significant amount of more heart attacks. Researchers in Michigan found that there was a 25 percent increase in the amount of heart attack patients the Monday following DST between 2010 and 2013. You can go ahead and blame change in sleep patterns.
7. There Are More Car Accidents, Too
National Geographic reports there's a 15 percent rise in the number of car accidents that happen in the days following DST. Sleep deprivation is no joke, y'all.
8. Most Countries Don't Observe Daylight Saving Time At All
While it's popular in the United States and most of Europe, there are only a handful of countries in Africa, South America, and Asia that implement the time change.
At any rate, Daylight Saving Time is coming whether you are ready for it or not, so go ahead and set those clocks an hour ahead tonight. Or don't — thanks to technology, our smartphones automatically adjust themselves, meaning you just have to wake up, pour some coffee, and hope you can stay awake long enough to actually enjoy that extra hour of sunlight we've been promised.
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