Don’t Forget to Fall Back!

It’s that time of year again!  Whether you love sleeping in an extra hour or hate the fact that it messes with your internal clock for days (or usually, both!), we’re about to set our clocks back one hour this weekend.  But… why?

Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin wrote an essay that jokingly suggested getting out of bed earlier and making better use of the natural morning light.  He pitched the idea as a money-saver (or rather candle wax saver) and was, in essence, poking fun at the French.  The amount of sunlight that goes wasted each morning would come as a shock to his readers who "have never seen any signs of sunshine before noon".

George Vernon Hudson

Entomologist George Vernon Hudson presents the idea of daylight saving time to the Royal Society of New Zealand.  After working a full day at the post office, he found that he did not have time or daylight to conduct his bug hunting during the summer.  The idea was panned for being pointless and overly complicated.

Germany Enacts Daylight Saving Time

Germany enacts Daylight Saving Time to conserve coal during World War I.  Many European countries follow suit, and after a year of entering the war, America sets its clocks back as well.  Most governments abandon this practice once the war is done. 

Franklin Roosevelt

Franklin Roosevelt instituted a year-round daylight saving time, which he termed 'war time' lasting until 1945.

Up to the States

In subsequent years, states and jurisdictions could choose whether to observe daylight saving time and when to begin and end it.  This meant that cities could be an hour behind others even if they were only a few miles apart.

Uniform Time Act

To minimize confusion, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act of 1966 to standardize the length of daylight saving time across the country within established time zones.

Year-Round Daylight Saving Time

Due to the oil embargo, Congress tried a period of year-round daylight saving time to conserve energy in the winter months.

Daylight Saving Expanded

Daylight saving expanded from the last Sunday of April to the first Sunday of April at 2:00 AM.  This was a big win for US Retail because the extra hour of sunlight allowed consumers to stop and shop in the daylight on their way home from work.

Energy Act

Congress passed the Energy Act of 2005, again shifting the beginning of daylight saving time one month earlier and extending it one week later, thru the first week of November.  This was partly due to heavy lobbying by the candy industry to provide safer trick or treating for kids.

While you get ready to reset your watches, alarms, and microwaves, here are some fun facts about daylight saving time-

  • It is pronounced "daylight saving time" not "daylight savings time"

    While widely used, pronouncing the second word in its plural form is grammatically incorrect. The term "saving" is an adjective rather than a verb, so the singular is used.

  • Contrary to popular belief, daylight saving time does not benefit farmers

    In fact, farmers are actually one of the strongest organized lobby groups that continually protest daylight saving. If you think trying to get your kids to wake up an hour later or earlier is difficult, try telling a dairy cow on a rigorous schedule that she won't be milked until an hour before or after she's used to.

  • Not every state springs forward and falls back in the US

    Arizona (except the Navajo Nation), Hawaii, a few Amish communities, and US territories such as Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam do not observe daylight saving time and instead remain on standard time year-round.

  • Not every state is in favor of DST

    Between 2015 and 2019, 29 states introduced legislation to abolish resetting the clocks. Nineteen of those states have enacted legislation or passed resolutions to provide for year-round daylight saving time. However, none of these states can do anything without an act of Congress.

  • A bombing was prevented by daylight saving

    In September 1999, Palestinians living on the West Bank were on daylight saving time, while their Israeli partners were on standard time. When the terrorists smuggled in 2 timed bombs, they exploded an hour early, killing three terrorists instead of two busloads of people.

  • Why 2:00 AM?

    Because most people are sleeping on both coasts, bars and restaurants should be shut down, and the fewest trains are running, giving computer systems enough time to reset.

  • Standard time isn't actually standard anymore...

    Daylight Saving Time operates for 34 weeks or roughly eight months of the year.

  • Does it ACTUALLY save energy?

    Despite its origins as an energy-saving strategy, research suggests it might be hurting the cause. One 2008 study found statewide implementations of DST had boosted overall energy consumption by 1 percent. While it's true that changing the clocks can save residents money on lighting, the cost of heating and air conditioning tends to go up.

  • Daylight Saving Time is now used in over 70 countries worldwide!

    It also affects over one billion people every year. The beginning and end dates vary from one country to another.

This weekend, whether you love it or hate it, we’ll steal an hour of daylight from the evening and add it to the morning.  We often complain that we don’t have enough hours in the day; well, Sunday is your chance to get an extra hour!  How will you make the most of it?