We spring ahead every year, but why?



Daylight saving time or “summer time” in some countries, allows us to enjoy the daylight of the summer months.

By “springing” our clocks forward, we sacrifice normal sunrise times in order to have evening daylight last an hour longer.

Officially, this practice dates back to the German Empire on April 30, 1916. Though Benjamin Franklin proposed a similar idea almost 100 years earlier. Now, more than 70 countries observe this time-honored tradition.

Although we participate in this every year, very few know exactly why we change our clocks. Benjamin Franklin’s original idea for daylight saving time was a way to conserve energy by using the extra daylight instead of wasting energy with electric lights.

In the United States, daylight saving time originally was implemented during World War I and World War II in order to take advantage of longer daylight hours and save energy for the war production. After the wars, some cities chose to observe while others went back to standard time. This caused some confusion, especially when those cities were only a few miles apart. In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act to standardize daylight saving time across the country.

There are plenty of myths surrounding daylight saving time, but the most persistent is that the time change benefits farmers. The myth says that the extra daylight allows them to work later in the day. In actuality, farmers tend to not support the time change. Farmers don’t enjoy the loss of the morning daylight hours when they usually do most of their work.

Also, with electronics becoming much more efficient, the original reason of conservation becomes a moot point. So, what are the benefits of extra daylight?

Extra daylight means that we can do more with our day. Go to parks, beaches, and most importantly, shop. Whether it’s clothes or gasoline, Americans spend millions annually with the extra hour of sunlight. This gives a boost to small businesses and the economy in general.

So on Sunday, March 11, set those clocks forward and enjoy that extra hour of daylight in the evening after you recover from a lost hour of sleep.

Go to a theme park, a baseball game or the mall. When you do, make sure to thank Benjamin Franklin for the idea of extra sunlight.