What is it we say to remember, spring forward or fall back?
Yes, the phrase reminds us of what we have to do – but we don’t need to remember when we have to do it, we get plenty of reminders the day before we need to change our clocks so that’s not a problem. Oh, and I found out that its Daylight Saving Time (DST) not “Daylight Savings Time” as I was saying before doing my research.
Where did this idea originate you ask? Not from Ben Franklin as I believed. As it turns out, he only suggested adjusting our sleep schedules. It was actually William Willet of Britain who first circulated the idea in 1907 when he penned the plan under the title “Waste of Daylight”.
While there are many good reasons circulating for this practice (some true and some false) there are unfortunately health concerns associated with this long followed ritual. I think we have been doing this for about one hundred years now. Apparently disrupting our sleep pattern can cause more than grogginess. Studies and reports have also emerged to provide evidence that the day after the time shift results in problems in productivity nationwide.
So why are we doing this again? To save energy supposedly. We have been doing this because more daylight time is expected to keep us outside and not at home using lights. As if.
Well, does that theory still hold? I am not convinced as we are now in “modern times” – an industrial age where machines are dehumanizing us. Or is that the Charlie Chaplin film Modern Times? Either way, the fact is that we are all using a lot more energy than before and not just for lights. We are constantly using energy even when we are outside, carrying it around in all sorts of our devices loaded up with energy. And when we get home almost everything inside is powered by electricity, from smoke alarms to computers, to phones, to televisions and of course, lights.
This practice of Daylight Saving Time began, albeit inconsistently, during World War I but did not become a wider practice until World War II. Interestingly enough, changing this practice in the United States, either to a consistent year-round version or doing away with it all together, would need a law passed by Congress. Individual states do have some flexibility but have to follow standard time from November to March. California for example, is still trying to abolish the practice and failed at it last year but will be trying again this year to do away with DST. Who knew this was so complicated?
There might be other uses for DST. Apparently there are some important cyclical things that should be done each time we change our clocks – a few years ago Good Housekeeping published a list. Most of us are reminded about the changing of batteries in smoke alarms and detectors by our local television stations, as well as some other devices, but I discovered many more useful tips there like checking for expired foods and meds or changing filters.
I’m not sure how I feel about Daylight Saving Time, I’m still groggy from the time change a few days ago. I guess I could move to one of the places that don’t follow DST, or add my name to the petition to say NO to DST. I think I’ll sleep on it and decide tomorrow…