Daylight Saving Time: When do I Turn my Clock Back? Who Started That Anyways?
Even though snow, ice, and chilly winds are still tormenting many parts of the country, spring is finally on the horizon. Sunshine, longer days, bird chirping… what could be better after a long, dreadful winter? This Sunday, March 12, 2023, at 2:00 AM we lose an hour of sleep in order to spring the clocks forward for Daylight Saving Time (DST). The idea of DST has become quite controversial in recent years, with some states choosing to abolish it altogether. Which leads to the question, when and why did it start in the first place?
If you curse the clock after losing some of your precious slumbers, you can blame Benjamin Franklin. The founding father who said, “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise,” had the idea of DST to conserve energy. He first proposed the idea in one of his letters in 1784 but the clock change didn’t happen until over 100 years later.
Why was Daylight Saving Time created anyway?
In 1916, Germany first implemented the time change as a way to conserve fuel during World War I. Europe and the United States followed during the next few years. At some point, the rumor began that farmers wanted to implement DST in order to have an extra hour working in the fields but this has proven to be false. Farmers actually didn’t want this to happen because they would end up losing light in the morning when they were bringing their crops to the market. It isn’t just us humans that are affected negatively by losing an hour of sleep, turns out that animals, including farmer’s cows, don’t like it either.
While DST was created to conserve energy, reports show that it doesn’t really do much these days. As technology improved, we now have more energy-efficient electronics and lightbulbs which dub any energy conservation created by DST unnecessary. Unfortunately, it isn’t healthy for us either. While some argue that the extra sunlight can help us in those months when winter drags into spring, the opposite is true. There are more heart attacks, car accidents, workplace injuries, and general feelings of unwell brought on by the lack of sleep. Yikes, be careful out there!
While some states including Hawaii and Arizona have permanently opted out of the time change permanently, others like California and Florida are hoping to follow suit. But as for now, we are stuck with moving the clocks an hour forward in March and forcing through that fogginess on Monday morning. If you want to feel better, try going to bed earlier to get more sleep and help your body adjust to the time change. The prize? The sun will begin setting later and later, which means summer is closer than we think… even if the ground is still white outside right now.