What You Didn’t Know About Daylight Saving Time

Karyna Hetman

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The moment we have all been waiting for to solve our sleep deprivation problems: the end of daylight savings for the year. This Sunday, November 4th, we were greeted with an extra hour of sleep as the clocks changed backwards for daylight saving time. This important change is enjoyed by most based on the extra hour of sleep, but it didn’t always used to be that way.  

Benjamin Franklin was a prominent individual in history who helped propose the idea of pushing time back earlier. He originated the idea when he was jolted awake by the blazing sun at 6 am. He then wrote an essay arguing that if they woke up at dawn, they would save a lot of money from using sunlight rather than candles. Ben Franklin did help make a change daylight saving time by writing his persuasive essay, but he was not the first to come up with the exact time change.

Another man, William Willett, rode horse back in the early morning and realized how much plentiful sunlight people were missing out on in the mornings while they were asleep. Similarly to Franklin, he composed a brochure proposing his idea, but it was shot down by British Parliament.

Besides the effort of these two men, Germany was the first to put daylight savings time into full force. During World War One, Germany decided to use daylight saving time to conserve electricity. According to History.com, [Willet] may have been horrified to learn that Britain’s wartime enemy followed his recommendations before his homeland.” 

Some cities and states in America started adapting daylight saving time while others did not. After World War Two, there was a debacle over whether the change in time was worthwhile or not. States and even regions within the states would have different change times for daylight saving since they couldn’t all agree on one official time. Finally in 1966, the Uniform Time Act was passed to establish daylight saving time to start the last Sunday in April and end on the last Sunday in October. This year however, it started on Sunday March 11 and it just recently ended on Sunday November 4th.

Contrary to popular belief, daylight saving time was not created for farmers, in fact, many farmers in America dislike this change in time. Farmers do their work by the sun not by the clock, so it makes them have to wait a whole hour long before doing their work.

New studies have proven old reasons for daylight saving to be false. Research is now showing that changing clocks do not make any impact on reducing energy usage, which was a main component for setting back the clock. Senior analyst, Jeff Dowd, of the U.S. Department of Energy, discovered that the four-week extension of daylight time saved about 0.5 percent of the nation’s electricity per day.” This 0.5% is seen as minuscule to some scientists in this field of research, and makes some question why we continue to keep daylight saving time into effect.

Now with this knowledge of how daylight saving time came about, individuals such as Ben Franklin and William Willet can be thanked for their ideas that led to an extra hour of sleep. However, when spring rolls around and daylight saving starts up again, people start to be on the same page as the many scientists who disagree with the change of time, as the loss of an hour of sleep is hard to give up.