We have just completed one leg in the bi-annual event called resetting our clocks. I find both the springing forward and falling back to be a short-term, life-altering experience. My internal sleeping and waking clock does not adjust itself overnight. It takes a week or sometimes two, both forward and backward.
At the time of this bi-annual occurrence, I always ask the question, “Why?”
Daylight Saving Time (DST) was, according to my research, originally started in Germany during World War I beginning on May 1, 1916, and was done in an effort to conserve fuel during that war. It was not adopted in the United States until 1918, with this first period of Daylight Saving Time beginning on March 19, 1918. It was abolished by Congress after the end of World War I. During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt instituted year-round DST, calling it “War Time,” beginning on Feb. 9, 1942, and ceasing the end of September 1945.
From 1945 to 1966 there was no federal law on Daylight Saving Time. As a child, my parents did not change our clocks in the summer. In Nebraska, where they were originally from, the time did not change, so they adhered to that habit. The Uniform Time Act of 1966 mandated DST from the last Sunday in April until the last Sunday in October. In 2007, the time period was increased to begin the second Sunday in March and end the first Sunday in November.
Granted there are advantages to Daylight Saving Time. Some of which are decreases in traffic accidents due to the extended light hours, increases in amount of exercise, revenue increases for retail stores and also for recreational facilities, and decreases in criminal activity. These are all certainly worthwhile benefits of the changing of our clocks.
There are some disadvantages too. These include the complexity in keeping up with when the time is changing, increase in heart-related deaths due to sleep deprivation, and the possible effect on electronic and computer-based services because of the time change.
I didn’t see it mentioned in any of my research, but one disadvantage can also be changing the time on large wall clocks and spending several of these newly-acquired additional daylight hours trying to get the clock hung back on the wall. I think all of us have one or more clocks that we don’t like to try to change, either because of the “hanging” issue or just because some digital clocks are not exactly simple to change. I, unfortunately, am the proud owner of both of these problem clocks.
The debate of yes to DST vs. no to DST has gone on since it was enacted in 1966. I am not totally sure which side of the fence I am on.
I like the side of the fence that gives me additional daylight hours to enjoy my golfing, playing with my grandsons and sitting outside during the extended evening. Those are certainly all great advantages and ones that I would not want to relinquish. But, on the flipside, I don’t like the adjustment period that the transition requires. And, I could do without having to adjust all of the clocks.
The Sunday of Daylight Saving Time this time, I slept in later than usual, thinking that maybe this would make the change easier. I am writing this on that day, and so far so good. But tomorrow morning, when I get up early for my weekly coffee gathering with friends, I know I will be dragging. I will have to set my alarm clock to make sure I get up in time. No depending on my internal clock to have made the adjustment.
So whether you are on the pro side or the con side, Daylight Saving Time is here for 2014. It will be here until Nov. 2, 2014. Oh, I almost forgot, if DST is here, can spring be far behind? Maybe that is the biggest advantage of all!
Nita Wyatt of Wyanet can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.