Daylight Saving Time returns Sunday, March 11, at 2 a.m. And although we're technically losing an hour of sleep as we "spring ahead," we'll be gaining an hour of daylight.
The notion of Daylight Saving Time is attributed to Benjamin Franklin, who proposed rising an hour earlier in order to conserve candles, but it didn't take root until World War II, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt started what he called "War Time” in an effort to save resources. According to timeanddate.com, the law, which was in effect from 1942 to 1945, "was enforced 40 days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and during this time, time zones were called 'Eastern War Time,' 'Central War Time' and 'Pacific War Time.' After the surrender of Japan in mid-August 1945, the time zones were relabeled 'Peace Time.' " But mass confusion ensued because states and municipalities were able to opt in or out -- until the Uniform Time Act of 1966 was passed. It's still not mandatory, but all states except Arizona and Hawaii participate. More than 70 countries worldwide have adapted their own versions, as well.
Some experts contend the time shift not only is pointless in the modern age, but could actually be harmful. A California Energy Commission report maintains that little -- if any -- energy benefit is actually gained by the switch to DST. ABC News has reported that the annual changes back and forth mess with people's internal clocks and can lower work productivity. And the New England Journal of Medicine has asserted that the time shifts can increase chances of a heart attack.
As we turn our clocks ahead one hour -- standard practice is to do so before turning in on Saturday night -- officials advise us to take a few minutes and also change the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. This way, we can bask in sunlight and safety this spring.