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Five little-known facts about daylight saving time

By on March 11th, 2013


Chris Peralta contributed audio reporting.

Though not made a federal law until 1966, the idea of daylight saving time came from Benjamin Franklin, according to National Geographic. Franklin noticed the sun rose earlier than he did while on a trip to France serving as U.S. ambassador. He wrote how resources could be saved if he and others awoke when daylight started instead of burning candles and oil late at night.

Germany was the first country to have time changes so as to save coal for the war effort during World War I. The U.S. standardized the yearly start and end of daylight saving time in 1918 for states that chose to institute it. Under the current U.S. law, the daylight time applies from 2 a.m. the second Sunday of March until 2 a.m. the first Sunday of November.

Here are five little-known facts about daylight saving time to make up for that lost hour of sleep Sunday.

  1. Not all states are required to observe daylight saving. In fact, Arizona, with the exception of the Navajo Nation, does not observe the time change due to heat. Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands follow Arizona in not setting their clocks back.
  2. Florida Sen. Darren Soto filed a bill in February that proposed Florida keep its clock in daylight saving time year-round, according to News4Jax.com. He doesn’t expect the bill to pass, but he wants to start a conversation about the time change.
  3. A four-week extension of daylight time saved about 0.5 percent of the nation’s electricity per day, according to senior analyst Jeff Dowd and his colleagues at the U.S. Department of Energy in a 2008 report to Congress. This is a total of 1.3 trillion watt-hours that could power 100,000 households for a year, said Scientific American.
  4. It is disputed whether daylight saving time has health and safety benefits or drawbacks. The time change can have a negative effect on health with more traffic accidents, heart attacks, work accidents, suicide and sleep loss, according to Mother Nature Network. However, U.S. News Health states heart attacks decrease when gaining an hour of sleep and traffic accidents lessen during daylight saving time, as drivers do better with the extended daylight.
  5. Some countries also follow daylight saving time, but not all of these countries follow the time change on the same date. These differences in time make it difficult to coordinate time among countries. Look at timeanddate.com to see recent updates on countries following daylight saving time.

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