Each and every year we spring forward, moving our clocks ahead an hour in the Spring, and fall back, moving our clocks back and hour in the Fall. This year, Daylight Saving Time (DST) begins this Sunday, March 10, 2013. Not every state complies with this yearly ritual. Daylight Saving Time is not observed in most of the Eastern Time Zone portion of Indiana and the states of Arizona and Hawaii. Making appointments in Indiana can be very confusing since some of the state observes it and other parts don’t.
Before we continue, it’s Daylight Saving (singular) Time and not Daylight Savings (plural) Time. When you put money in a bank, you open a “savings account.”
The main purpose of Daylight Saving Time is to extend the period of daylight in the Spring by moving an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening, thus, saving daylight. One of its recent goals is to save energy, cut down on traffic accidents, and give people more daylight in the evenings for outside work and recreation.
Some claim that Benjamin Franklin is the inspiration behind the practice, although cutting down on automobile traffic deaths was not in his purview, but I guess nighttime carriage deaths were an issue.
Franklin’s rationale appeared in a 1784 article with the title An Economical Project. The idea took some time to catch on. There is some debate over who actually got the practice enacted. Some argue that it was first proposed by the New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson, whose shift-work job gave him leisure time to collect insects, and led him to value after-hours daylight.
Others claim the idea “was first advocated seriously by London builder William Willett (1857–1915) in the pamphlet, ‘Waste of Daylight’ (1907) that proposed advancing clocks 20 minutes on each of four Sundays in April, and retarding them by the same amount on four Sundays in September.”
The plan was finally adopted in the United States in 1918. During WW II, the clocks were messed with again, but only temporarily. During the energy crisis of 1973, because of an oil embargo by OPEC, President Nixon signed the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act into law. Clocks were set ahead for fifteen months through April 27, 1975.
Dr. Joseph Mercola writes that there are some health risks in tinkering with our innate internal clocks:
“A number of studies indicate that springing ahead to Daylight Saving Time (DST) may be hazardous to your health. Although the one-hour time change may seem minor, when it comes to your body’s internal clock, it actually is a big deal.
“The latest study suggests turning your clock ahead for DST may set the stage for a small increased risk of heart attack the following day.”
Here’s my proposal: Let’s move the clocks ahead 30 minutes and leave them there.