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Daylight Savings Q&As

This is the weekend, most of the nation will unwillingly lose a few hours of sleep as our clocks spring ahead. Why do we subject ourselves to a time change? Below are a few answers to that, plus all the technical reasons of why it works the way it does.

When is daylight savings time this year?
Daylight savings time is scheduled to be on the second Sunday in March of every year, which means this year’s spring forward is scheduled for Sunday March 13th. That makes the end date Sunday, November 6th. The actual time of the change is at 2:00 a.m. Don’t fret with specifics though, just switch your clock over Saturday night before you go to sleep.

Who observes the time change?
Daylight Savings Time is observed worldwide, however the start and end dates vary per region. The majority of the U.S. and Canada observes this time change; however Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and areas of Arizona choose to opt out.

What are the benefits of daylight saving time?
The answer to this was actually something I didn’t expect. One of the biggest reasons cited for daylight savings was to save electricity, however whether or not the change helps is a disputed issue. You can’t dispute the extended daylight hours eliminate the need to turn on the dining room lights before dinner. One of the obvious bonuses of the time change is resetting clocks to give us more daylight during “daytime” hours. This gives us more light for our favorite spring and summer outdoor activities, such as baseball or yard work. It also helps farmers during harvests and planting.

What is the history of daylight saving time?
The idea was first recorded in 1784 by the one and only Benjamin Franklin as a way to diminish the cost of lighting. However the idea didn’t actually catch on until 100 years later when the railroads created standardized time. It was also strictly imposed during the World Wars to conserve energy. Repealed after the First World War, it was re-instituted during World War II. In 1966 the states were given the option to either opt in or out of the measure for good.

Why does it start at 2 a.m.?
In technical terms, our clocks will jump from 01:59:59 a.m. to 03:00:00 a.m. leaving Sunday with only 23 hours in its day, and will jump  backward from 01:59 a.m. to 01:00 a.m, repeating the hour and therefore leaving that day with 25 hours.  For those of you less technically minded, it starts in the middle of the night on the weekend because…well, the majority of the population sleeps in on the weekends and a time-warp won’t really be noticed. It’s the least disruptive time to switch over. So Sunday morning, when you wake up an hour late to church, work or whatever you have scheduled, thank the rest of the nation for the circles under your eyes.

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