It's almost here! No, not Mercury retrograde (though that's coming in March as well) — I'm talking about Daylight Saving Time! In March, clocks will "spring forward" as the spring season approaches, which means an extra hour of daylight for all of us. So, if you're wondering when Daylight Saving Time is in 2018, get ready to set your clocks ahead one hour at 2 a.m. local time on Mar. 11. After an epic flu season and a savage winter full of bomb cyclones, the arrival of spring can't come soon enough. In old-timey days, people used to have to remember to manually set their clocks back, which often resulted in a lot of panic and confusion when they forgot. These days your phone and computer should update automatically. If you still have any real clocks in your home, make sure to turn them forward one hour when you go to bed on Saturday.
While Forbes reported that there's actually no scientific reason for the continuation of Daylight Saving Time (all U.S. states participate except Arizona and Hawaii), it sure is nice to have an extra hour of sunlight so it doesn't feel like you should go to bed at 5:30 p.m. or something. Losing that hour of sleep can be tough for the first few days after spring forward, but most people are willing to trudge through a few groggy days for an hour of extra sunlight. Because, it turns out that extra sunlight actually makes people happier. I mean, obviously. Gizmodo cited a 2014 snapshot of Facebook analytics that revealed that while Daylight Saving Time does indeed make people sleepy, it also makes them happy AF.
"On the Monday following DST, we see [21 percent] increased usage of 'wonderful,' and [19 percent] increased usage of 'great' compared to the previous Monday. Meanwhile, 'annoyed' is down 14 percent and 'bored' is down 12 percent," Gizmodo cited Facebook's data science team as reporting. Historically, according to Time and Date, U.S. states implemented daylight saving time whenever they felt like it, which resulted in a lot of chaos for transportation and broadcasting schedules.
In 1966 the Uniform Time Act was established to ensure that everyone was springing forward at the same time. After all, we should be in this whole daylight thing together. Daylight Saving Time officially happens at 2 a.m. when most people are asleep.
While Benjamin Franklin is often credited as the founder of daylight saving time, the Old Farmer's Almanac noted that London builder William Willet was actually the first one to come up with the idea. Willet penned a manifesto titled "The Waste of Daylight" to make his case for moving clocks one hour ahead. "Everyone appreciates the long, light evenings. Everyone laments their shrinkage as the days grow shorter; and nearly everyone has given utterance to a regret that the nearly clear, bright light of an early morning during spring and summer months is so seldom seen or used... That so many as 210 hours of daylight are, to all intents and purposes, wasted every year is a defect in our civilization. Let England recognize and remedy it," the Old Farmer's Almanac reported.
It's true that most everyone enjoys the additional sunlight, but the sleep deprivation is a real problem, and not just for humans. Apparently many farmers don't like daylight saving time because their animals have a hard time adjusting to the time change. "The chickens do not adapt to the changed clock until several weeks have gone by, so the first week of April and the last week of October are very frustrating for us," one Canadian farmer is quoted as saying in the Old Farmer's Almanac. Who knew that chickens were just like us?
And, while it might not seem like there are many things to thank former President George W. Bush for, moving spring forward three weeks earlier just might be the greatest achievement of his presidency. "On Mon., Aug. 8, 2005, President Bush signed into law a broad energy bill that extended Daylight Saving Time by four weeks beginning in 2007," Time and Temperate noted. "Since 1986, the United States had observed daylight saving time from the first Sunday in April through the last Sunday in October. The provisions of the bill call for daylight saving time to begin three weeks earlier on the second Sunday in March and end on the first Sunday in November."
If you're in the love camp when it comes to daylight saving time, you're probably pretty excited for longer days as we head into spring, which begins Mar. 20. And, a little extra daylight coupled with the beginning of spring just might make Mercury retrograde, which starts Mar. 22, a little less painful. If nothing else, you can fumble through mercury's month-long backspin in the light of day instead of stumbling around in the dark. Always a silver lining my friendlies.