Whether you embrace it or brace for it, Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends for 2020 on Sunday, Nov. 1, when we turn our clocks back an hour at 2 a.m. If we look on the bright side, we gain in sleep what we lose in daylight hours–at least for one luxurious day. The springtime shift is more likely to mess us up—read on for more about that.
Here are 10 fun facts that shed some light on why we change our clocks and what really happens when we try to fool Mother Nature.
- It is actually “Daylight Saving Time” (singular), not “Daylight Savings Time” (plural).
- Credit for DST is erroneously given to Founding Father and inventor Benjamin Franklin from his essay “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light” in The Journal of Paris. The actual originator was British-born New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson in 1895, who wanted to gain extra daylight to collect and study bugs.
- There is no international standard for DST, which is observed by about 70 countries, excluding China and Japan. Many countries near the equator do not adjust their clocks.
- The Uniform Time Act of 1966 established the system of uniform DST throughout the U.S., calling for the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October. President George W. Bush’s Energy Policy Act of 2005 extended DST (starting in 2007) from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.
- Two-thirds of Americans feel that DST is not worth the hassle, according to a 2014 Rasmussen poll.
- While it is commonly believed that DST saves energy use, some studies show that consumption may actually increase.
- Television networks love Nov. 1 when TV viewership soars.
- “Falling back” isn’t as dangerous as “springing ahead,” when there is a higher risk of accidents by sleep-deprived drivers, as well as heart attacks, strokes, susceptibility to illness, seasonal depression, and poorer results by students on college entrance exams.
- Farmers have never welcomed DTS, as commonly believed. They fought proposals to implement it, and one agricultural lobby argued to repeal it more than 100 years ago in 1919.
- States can exempt themselves from participating, but Arizona and Hawaii are presently the only two that do not observe the time change.
I live in one of the 48 states that turn the clocks back, so I plan to celebrate that extra hour of rest.
Remember that fall is when safety experts recommend replacing the batteries in smoke alarms and checking ovens, microwaves and fire extinguishers. Consumer advocate Elisabeth Leamy wrote a blog post a few months ago for us on replacement cycles of household items. She shed light on the fact that in addition to the batteries, smoke alarm units themselves have expiration dates printed on them and should be replaced more often than most people realize.
Daylight Saving Time is also the perfect time to take inventory of everything sleep-related. If you or anyone in your household is sleeping on a mattress that’s 10 or more years old, it doesn’t contain foam that’s been certified through the CertiPUR-US® program. In addition to not providing adequate support, the foam in that old mattress doesn’t meet current standards for content and emissions and could contain chemicals of concern. It may be time to change more than just the clocks. Let’s make the most of sleeping in!