Spring Forward

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Daylight Saving Time Begins This Sunday, March 10

Every spring, in most parts of the country, we turn the clocks an hour forward at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday in March, “losing” an hour of sleep. You’ve probably been doing this all your life — but what do you really know about daylight saving time (DST)?

  • Benjamin Franklin originally (jokingly?) suggested changing the time  in an essay  published in 1784.[1, 2]
  • In 1916, Germany became the first country to adopt DST nationwide1, but the city of Thunder Bay in Ontario, Canada, had already implemented it back in 1908. [2]
  • The U.S. adopted DST during World War I … and then canceled it after the war. It didn’t come back until the 1970s. 1
  • Less than 40% of the countries in the world use DST. [2]
  • It’s a myth that DST was instituted to “help” farmers. [3] They have to get up pretty early in the morning, so that extra early daylight would probably suit them much better!
  • Yes, the delay until 2 a.m. is actually so most people will be asleep and won’t notice the change happen. [1]
  • With more light in the evening, it’s thought that we save money on electricity for lighting. However, a study in 2011  conducted when Indiana began changing the clocks found that household electricity costs went up by $9 million, and pollution also increased.
  • Who governs time in the U.S., including time zones and DST? The Department of Transportation, of course. Totally makes sense, right? [4]
  • We spend eight months of the year in DST, and only four in “standard time.” [4]
  • About half of all the states are considering making DST the time standard year-round [4], including Florida, Massachusetts, and California, but Congress has to allow it. 2

[1] Mental Floss
[2] Timeanddate.com
[3] The Washington Post
[4] USA Today