SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Have you ever wondered what Daylight Saving Time is and why we, as a society, follow this weird practice? Who started it? When did it start? Why did it start and are we getting rid of it? All these questions have circulated but now you finally can get the answers.
First of all, did you know that you might be saying it wrong? It’s actually daylight saving time, not savings time! Crazy, right? This is most commonly confused in the United States since we saying things like, “savings account.” So now that you know how to correctly say it, let’s start from the beginning.
Some say the idea came from Benjamin Franklin as a way to use less candles and lamp oil, but apparently his recommendation was a joke. In 1895 a New Zealand entomologist, George Hudson came up with the modern concept as he proposed a two-hour time shift so he could have more daylight after work to go bug hunting in the summer.
But the first use of daylight saving time was actually in 1916 in Germany during World War I to use less power for lighting and to save fuel for the war. The U.S. started using it in 1918 after legislation introduced it for seasonal time change but only lasted seven months before being repealed. President Franklin Roosevelt reintroduced day light saving time from 1942 to 1945 during World War II but called it “War Time.”
Almost 20 years later the Uniform Act of 1966 was born so that the country would have a set system in place regarding time and how it’s followed. The exact date of when the time shift would occur has changed many times but the one we currently follow started in 2007. The law that is now under the Department of Transportation allows states to opt out of daylight saving time. As of today the only states that have opted out are Hawaii, most of Arizona and U.S. territories as they follow standard time.
There are many pros and cons but everyone’s immediate thought goes to the amount of sleep they get. We all know that we’ll be gaining or losing and hour of sleep but what can this actually mean for our health. Syracuse University Professor Les Gellis, who researches insomnia and sleep patterns, said the changing of the clocks could have a negative impact for some.
“Light serves as a signal for us to be awake,” said Gellis. “And so what happens is, as you extend lightness later on in the day, then it makes some individuals make it less likely that they’re going to be able to sleep when they want to sleep in the evening.”
Now to what’s currently being done about daylight saving time. In March of last year the U.S. Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act which would make daylight saving permanent, meaning no more time shifts and more sunlight year round. The bill awaits approval by the House of Representatives and must be signed into law by the President for it take effect.
So for now, plan on setting that clock back come November 5 at 2 a.m.