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Daylight Saving Time

November 6, 2011

“Falling back” is seldom a good thing. If an army falls back, it usually means it’s losing the battle. And if a runner or race-car driver falls back, there’s no trophy at the end of the course.

But today’s a time when falling back is a good thing. That’s because this is the day we leave behind Daylight Saving Time and fall back into Standard Time — you did remember to reset your clock before you went to bed last night, right? — so we get back the hour of sleep we lost in March.

The “fall” marks the yearly end of Daylight Saving Time.

The idea of “springing forward” during the months of longer daylight caught on during World War I. The United States adopted the idea in 1918.

It lasted only a year, but was reinstated during World War II. After the war, individual states were free to use Daylight Saving Time or not, for any part of the year they chose. It was standardized in 1966, and since then it has been extended to take up a greater chunk of the year.

The rationale for the modern version of Daylight Saving Time is that people tend to use less energy during the dark early morning than they do after dark in the evening, so extending daylight by an hour in the evening cuts down on energy use. Study results on the issue are mixed, but most do show a small savings.

For now, enjoy the added personal energy from that extra hour of sleep — which you’ll have to give back when Daylight Saving Time returns on the second Sunday in March.


Script by Damond Benningfield, Copyright 2011


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