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March 5, 2013 > Springing forward

Springing forward

Don't get off track - make sure to change your clocks on March 10 when Daylight Savings Time (DST) kicks in at 2 a.m. Though this transition initially robs us of one hour, DST treats everyone to more daylight as the longer days of spring and summer approach.

Extended evening daylight is thought to reduce use of artificial light, save energy, increase outdoor activity, and decrease driving accidents. Not to mention the enjoyable feeling that the day doesn't run out before you do!

Benjamin Franklin first came up with the idea in 1784, presented in an essay titled "An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light." New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson presented the proposal of moving two-hours forward in October and two hours back in March to the Wellington Philosophical Society in 1895. But English butler William Willett gets the credit for DST when his proposal for moving clocks 20 minutes forward each Sunday in April and moving them back in the same manner in September led to the introduction of a bill to the House of Commons in February 1908. The bill, however, received a lot of opposition and never made it into law.

DST was finally put into practice in 1916 during World War I as a measure to replace artificial lighting in order to save fuel. Many countries returned to standard time after the war and wouldn't practice DST again until World War II and, once again it was necessary to conserve vital energy resources.

Year-round DST was instituted in the U.S. by President Roosevelt during World War II from February 9, 1942 to September 30, 1945 and referred to as "War Time." The schedule has been revised many times over the years, but the one we currently follow began in 2007 and starts the second Sunday in March, ending on the first Sunday in November. DST is observed throughout the U.S. with the exceptions of Hawaii and Arizona, as well as areas of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam. DST is followed in over seventy countries, although the beginning and end dates often vary from the U.S.

For those who have difficulty adjusting to the change, a brisk walk or run has been found to help, as well as an hour or two spent in bright natural light. Eating earlier and avoiding caffeine and alcohol can also trick the body and may help you to fall asleep sooner.

Remember to move clocks forward one hour before you go to bed on Saturday, March 9 and wake up Sunday morning to the promise of extra sunlight courtesy of Daylight Savings Time!

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