• October 31, 2014

Origins of daylight savings

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Posted: Saturday, November 3, 2012 4:30 am | Updated: 10:16 am, Sun Jul 14, 2013.

I have always been an advocate of conserving resources, especially when it comes to our environment.

So, when I realized this evening is the end of daylight saving time, I decided to learn more about it.

Most scholars say Benjamin Franklin was the first to discuss the concept of waking hours to be with the sun and thus reducing the excess use of resources for energy. Then, during World War I, the Germans were the first to implement and mandate the “spring forward” concept to decrease the amount of resources used in the war.

The U.S. also adopted daylight saving time on a voluntary basis until World War II, when it became mandatory. Since then, we have used it on and off, voluntarily, until the Energy Policy Act of 2005 mandated daylight saving time be observed starting in 2007.

There have been many studies, some confirming it reduces resource use and some that disprove any benefit. Either way, I feel like daylight saving time has benefits beyond conserving energy resources. More evening daylight motivates many of us to spend additional time outside enjoying nature, burning off steam from the day’s work by exercising or walking and spending family time after dinner instead of in front of the television.

I’ve always known my favorite time of day is evening and I love enjoying the extra daylight hours. I never liked “springing forward” and losing an hour of sleep, but that always had a short impact for me.

But one study said it impacts others greatly.

One study documented an increase in heart attacks during the first three days of daylight saving time, where people become more fatigued, less productive and more susceptible to illness. This was quite shocking to me.

National telephone surveys by Rasmussen Reports from fall 2009 and spring 2010 deliver the same answer. Most people just “don’t think the time change is worth the hassle,” according to an article in National Geographic. Forty-seven percent agreed with that statement, while only 40 percent disagreed.

Whatever you feel about the extra hour, I think it’s here to stay. It was born from an honorable premise, and it offers a bit of change from our routine twice each year.

So, as a friendly reminder, don’t forget to “fall back” tonight before you go to bed. And enjoy that extra hour of sleep as we return to standard time until spring.

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