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The Low-Down on Daylight Saving Time

Updated on March 8, 2013

It’s that time of the year again when we get to lose an extra hour of sleep. When did this start and who started it? Does it affect everyone or just us? Here are some facts about daylight savings time that you may not have been aware of.

When Did It Begin?

The first Daylight Saving Time began in the US on March 15, 1918. The U.S. began the practice at the end of World War I in an effort to conserve energy. The House of Representatives voted 252 to 40 to pass the law to save daylight.

Whose Idea Was It?

Benjamin Franklin first proposed the idea in 1784 in an essay titled, "An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light". The essay was published in the Journal de Paris in April 1784, but the idea didn't catch on until later. In 1907, Englishman William Willet proposed the idea again in an essay titled, "The Waste of Daylight". British Summer Time was introduced by the Parliament in 1916.

Does Everyone Observe It?

No. You can escape having to turn your clocks ahead by moving to Hawaii or parts of Arizona. They don't observe Daylight Saving Time. Before 2005, Indiana didn't observe it, but they do now. Most of the countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East don't observe Daylight Saving Time.

Why is it in March?

Daylight Saving Time used to occur the last Sunday in April, but the Energy Policy Act of 2005 changed it to the second Sunday in March. It used to end on the last Sunday in October, but it now ends the first Sunday in November.

Does DST Save Us Money?

That question is still up for debate, but numerous studies over the years have determined that using Daylight Saving Time costs us more money over the duration of the summer, rather than saving us money. A recent study estimated that, nationwide, the lost hour will cost us nearly $433.4 million in lost productivity.

Does the Lost Hour of Sleep Affect our Health?

Some studies indicate that certain health problems, such as heart attacks, rise on the day after we set our clocks ahead. A study published in the American Journal of Cardiology reviewed six years of records and found that the average number of heart attacks rose from 13 to 23 on the Sunday we switch the clocks ahead.


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