This Sunday, November 3rd at 2AM, we officially end Daylight Saving Time! We’ll observe such a phenomenon by turning back our clocks one hour.
In honor of that extra hour of sleep, here are some fun facts about Daylight Saving Time!
1. Ben Franklin was kind of kidding when he suggested it.
While his essay clearly brought up some practical reasons, like the need to conserve candles and later electricity, it’s totally possible he might have originally written it to poke fun at the French for being lazy, suggesting that the amount of sunlight that is wasted each day would likely shock readers who “have never seen any signs of sunshine before noon.”
2. Credit for the idea of DST goes to a bug collector.
An entomologist who did most of his bug hunting at night soon became frustrated by how early the sun set during the summer months. He reasoned that springing the clocks forward would allow more daylight for bug collecting—along with other evening activities. The clocks could be switched back in the winter when people (and bugs) were less likely to be found outdoors.
3. WW1 saw DST become law.
In 1916, Germany was the first to officially employ Daylight Saving Time in an effort to conserve coal during World War I. Britain and many other European nations were quick to follow the Germans’ lead. It wasn’t adopted in the US until 1918, to conserve electricity after entering the war. Everyone stopped observing DST after the war, until…
4. The energy crisis brought it back.
The 70’s saw a massive energy crisis, and in the beginning of 1974, to save energy in the winter months, DST was reinstated.
5. But it might actually waste energy.
In 2008, a study was done in Indiana that showed that energy consumption actually increased by 1% due to DST. This is because of the costs associated with heating and air conditioning, which outweighed the savings on the cost of lighting.
6. And it’s a health hazard.
An increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and susceptibility to illness have all been linked to the act of “springing forward” by numerous studies.
7. It’s not all bad news, though. There are some benefits.
For example, a notable benefit of DST was shown in a 2015 study that revealed robbery dropped by seven percent following the start of DST in the spring, which was heavily skewed by a 27 percent dip in robberies during the well-lit evening hours.
8. DST is not observed nationwide.
It’s not mandated by federal law, and thus the state of Arizona does not participate. However, the Navajo Nation, which is located in AZ, does observe DST. To make matters more interesting, the Hoppi Reservation, located fully inside the Navajo Nation, follows AZ in not observing DST. I imagine that can get really confusing.
9. It starts at 2AM on purpose.
By waiting until two in the morning, the hope is that most workers with early shifts will still be sleeping, and most bars and restaurants will already be closed for the night.
10. The candy industry lobbied for an extension.
Before 2007, DST ended on the last Sunday in October… which was all-too-often before Halloween. The candy industry lobbied intensely for decades to push DST back to include Halloween, once even passing out tiny, candy pumpkins to everyone in the Senate in 1986.