Set your calendars for November 4 to set your clocks back one hour. Yes – we get to live one hour over again! Who came up with this idea of daylight savings time, and why do we follow it? How does it affect you?
Ben Franklin apparently first came up with an idea of daylight savings time in order to save energy usage, but he did not necessarily create a plan. Eventually the idea was officially adopted by Germany during World War I. Other countries, although not all, soon followed suit. After various experimental changes and adaptations in the United States, the federal government most recently passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005, setting a standard schedule we have followed since its 2007 implementation. Daylight savings time starts by moving the clock forward one hour the second Sunday of each March and returns to standard time by turning the clock back one hour the first Sunday of each November. Following daylight savings time is not mandatory. In fact, Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and several other US territories do not participate in daylight savings time. Read more about DST’s interesting history and changes it has undergone, and check out this schedule for 2013 through 2015.
There are several pros and cons to following daylight savings time, and it is a popular argument. Turning the clock ahead in the spring does offer an extra hour of daylight in the evenings, which allows you to utilize more natural daylight in the home. Families have an extra hour to enjoy working and playing outside. When it ends in the fall and the clocks turn back an hour, the extra hour of daylight is claimed back in morning commutes and children’s bus stop time. The downside includes the fact that until daylight savings ends in the fall, more children have to wait in the dark for buses, making them vulnerable to unsafe conditions. Many people have to change the time they start or end work based on available daylight, so the time change does not help them anyway. On a larger scale, anyone who has to practice daylight savings time has two times each year to look forward to the confusion of dealing with the change, purposely trying to fool their minds and bodies that the clocks are correct. This can sometimes lead to sleep disorders that last long past the initial transition.
I wish we didn’t have to endure the whole daylight savings time program. I think we should just pick a time – one hour ahead, one hour behind, or maybe just thirty minutes one way or the other – and stick with it. Our circadian body clocks will thank us!
How do you feel about it? Do you think we should keep daylight savings time or do away with it? How does the time change affect you?