Uh oh, it’s that time of year again when I lose one hour of sleep. It’s time to spring forward. Don’t forget to move your clocks and watches up one hour late tonight or early tomorrow morning.
Daylight saving time — changing the clocks by an hour to allow for more waking sunlight hours in the summer and fewer in the winter — is meant to conserve energy. But while many relish the months of extra daylight, some Americans oppose the policy.
Many farmers feel it forces them to change their schedule — which often depends more on sunrise and sunsets then the clock — to accommodate the people they do business with. Others feel it’s a jolt to the body to change its sleep clock twice a year, or causes needless confusion for a day as people figure out what time church starts and when their plane takes off.
The policy began in Europe to conserve fuel during World War I. America adopted the idea from 1918 to 1919 and again in World War II, but left the option of time change up to state and local governments during peacetime. The resulting hodgepodge of local times was cleared up by Congress with the Uniform Time Act of 1966, which declared that daylight saving time be observed from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October, though exemptions were allowed.
Arizona, Hawaii, American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands don’t officially observe the time change each year.
Then in 2005, Congress granted Americans a cosmic courtesy: a little extra sun.
In the Energy Policy Act of 2005, intended to strengthen the electricity grid and increase domestic fuel production, Congress inserted a section that moved the start of daylight saving time back to the second Sunday in March and the end to the first Sunday in November.
Before 2005, the last major amendment to the Uniform Time Act came in the mid-80s when the start of daylight time was moved back to the first Sunday in April.
Many countries around the world observe some form of “summer time,” but set their dates individually.