Daylight Saving Time

Aaaaah….Spring.  After enduring a harsh, Chicago winter, (and recently, even in California, Texas, and other states that traditionally do not experience extreme snow, ice, and cold), it is a welcome sight to see the snow melting, plants erupting through the soil and beginning to bloom, and warmer temperatures. Daylight Saving Time also signals the beginning of Spring!

Daylight Saving Time (DST) occurs this Sunday morning, March 12th, at 2 am.  In many parts of the United States, it is time to ‘spring forward’ by setting our clocks one hour ahead. Many mainly think of it as ‘losing an hour of sleep’, while others look forward to days ahead with more hours of sunlight.  

Residents of Hawaii, Arizona (except the Navajo Nation), and the U.S. territories in the Pacific and Caribbean (Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and American Samoa) do not follow the time change. 

  • Due to Hawaii’s location, there are fewer variations between winter and summer daylight hours, so it makes sense to not have Daylight Saving Time.  
  • Arizona’s extreme heat is the reason it does not observe Daylight Saving Time. If it did, the sun would stay out until 9 p.m. in the summer instead of 8 p.m. as it currently does.

Change your clocks, change your batteries

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)’s campaign, “Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries”, encourages homeowners to change their smoke detector batteries whenever changing clocks for Daylight Saving Time – equating to twice a year. Batteries in Carbon Monoxide detectors should be also changed at this time. 

Why do we spring forward/fall back?

 In 1784, Benjamin Franklin first proposed the idea of aligning waking hours to daylight hours in order to conserve candles, after calculating considerable savings.  The idea is to maximize sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere, as the days start to lengthen in the spring and then decrease in the fall.  The logic is that by springing forward and falling back, people add an hour of sunlight to the end of the work day.  

Daylight Saving Time is not without controversy, as studies have shown the semi-annual clock changes result in sleep disturbances, ultimately resulting in more health problems and traffic accidents.  More than half of the U.S. states have attempted to switch to either permanent standard time or permanent Daylight Saving Time.  In 2022, the United States Senate passed a bill to make Daylight Saving Time permanent.  If enacted, this bill would take effect in November of 2023.  We will soon find out if we can reclaim that lost hour of sleep! 

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