Oh no, here it comes again. Daylight Saving Time. We love it in spring, when it makes our days longer and gives us that extra time after work to enjoy the outdoors. We loathe it in fall when it robs us of that life-affirming sunlight at the end of the day.
Daylight Saving Time this fall is Sunday, Nov. 4. At 2 a.m, all of us in Connecticut and most of us in the U.S. (We're looking at you, Hawaii and Arizona) will “fall back” and set our clocks back one hour. The springtime Daylight Savings this year was on March 11, when we “sprang forward” and set the clocks ahead an hour.
If those dates seem off from previous Daylight Saving dates, you’re right. It used to fall on the first Sunday in April and ended on the last Sunday in October. In 2005 President Bush signed an energy bill that extended Daylight Saving time by four weeks, extending it from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.
The change was sought by those who said it would save energy — as much as 100,000 barrels of oil daily by the reduced use of indoor lights — people could enjoy the outdoors more and farmers would have more time at night to work.
The federal government does not require states to follow Daylight Saving, though most do. Hawaii and Arizona opt out of the annual observance.
But how did this tradition even begin?
Benjamin Franklin is credited with the genesis of the idea (is there anything he didn’t invent?). According to National Geographic, Franklin wrote about how many resources could be saved if people spent more time working in the daylight hours.
About 100 years ago the U.S. standardized Daylight Saving hours and made it optional for states to follow. During World War II, however, it was mandated as a way to save wartime resources, National Geographic says.
Here’s some other fun facts from the website timeanddate.com:
- Daylight saving time is also called summer time or daylight savings time.
- When DST is not observed, it is called standard time, normal time or wintertime.
- The clock moves ahead (we lose one hour) in the spring and falls back one hour (we gain an hour) when DST ends in the fall.
- To remember which way the clock goes, keep in mind one of these sayings: “spring forward, fall back” or “spring ahead, fall behind.”
- DST is intended to save energy by reducing the need for lights at night. But there’s conflicting data on that with some studies showing increased savings and others showing none.