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5 Things You Might Not Know About Daylight Saving Time, 1 Thing You Better Know Right Now, and a Bonus Question About Fetuses

posted Nov 6, 2016, 6:51 AM by Ariel Purkeypile   [ updated Nov 6, 2016, 10:03 AM ]
Daylight Saving Time at Enhancing Doulas of Lubbock, TexasGrowing up, I was told that daylight savings time was created so farmers would have more light to work during the busy season between spring to fall. That made a lot of sense at the time, especially spending summers on the huge, bustling farm owned by my mom's parents and siblings and worked on by my grandpa, uncles, and whatever cousins and hired help were around. Grandpa was up and in overalls before the sun came up until he was in his 70s, he definitely needed more light. But as it turns out, the real story of daylight saving time is much more complex. 


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5 Things You Might Not Know About Daylight Saving Time 

#1 - Hold the "S"
You may be saying it wrong. It's "Daylight Saving Time," not "Daylight Savings Time." Or you can call it "DST" for short. It's got a little nickname! Cute, right? However, DST has only been around since the 20th century. Maybe when it's all grown up it will insist on being called by its full name. And if it does, remember to hold the "S." 

While we're getting into the details of DST, it's important to know exactly where, when, and how the change takes place. We'll get to why on #3.


places that observe daylight savingsDaylight Saving Time isn't universal. More countries in the northern hemisphere observe DST, but there are variations even within countries. In the United States, Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Island don't use DST, and Utah may stop soon.

Want to know who gets the short end of the stick here? Truck drivers. Time is really important for truck drivers, who have to keep up with their log books, driving times, ETAs, etc. Image result for allied truck volvoMy husband and I spent four months in the summer of 2001 driving around the country moving people in a truck that looked like this cute toy truck, only enormous. (Well, he worked, drove, and moved people. I was there for moral support.) Sometimes we'd drive through Arizona or move people in or out of the state, and doing the math while driving just blew my mind. I had to think a lot harder than I maybe should have. Truck drivers have a cool skill set. Don't even get me started on parking those things in reverse.


In the US, DST begins in the spring and ends in the fall. You can use the mnemonic "spring ahead, fall back" to remember which direction your clocks should be going. The spring change takes place at 2:00 a.m., when the clocks skip over the 2 o'clock hour and are reset forward to 3:00 a.m. The fall change takes place at 3:00 a.m. when the clocks are reset back to 2:00 a.m. and repeat the 2 o'clock hour. So you lose an extra hour of sleep in the spring but get it back in the fall. I sometimes like to imagine what I was doing in the extra hour last fall and see if I'm doing it in the spring. But that's easier for insomniacs, night-shift workers, and on-call birthworkers. All the "normal" people are probably just missing sleep. 

DST around the world and through its history has used a number of amounts of time, including changes of more or less than an hour, progressive changes over a few days, and differences in when the changes happen. We've got it a lot easier than doing 20 minutes changes over 4 days. While doubtlessly easier on one's health (see #2), can you imagine the chaos? I say we do it all at once, like ripping off a bandaid. Most governments appear to agree.


We have it pretty good today when it comes to DST. Digital clocks are easy to reset and many devices now automatically update their times as their owners move between time zones and in and out of DST. Back in the day, clocks had to be changed by hand, and many couldn't be wound backwards. So they'd have to be moved forward 11 hours in the fall. That's a lot of winding!

Fortunately, the hardest part for us is figuring out which clocks we've already changed and which still need changing. It's recommended that you change your clocks before you go to bed on the Saturday night prior to the change. Pay special attention to the devices we take for granted, like your coffee pot's alarm, DVR, sprinkler system, etc. If you have a roommate or partner who is "helping" with the switch, split the devices down the middle so you don't repeat one another's work.

#2 - Daylight Saving Time can kill you. Or maybe save your life.

DST has

#3 - Follow the money


#4 - That time Congress saved Halloween


#5 - Apparently farmers don't love saving time

You know who doesn't love DST? Farmers.

^ Go to top ^

1 Thing You Better Know Right Now

+1 - Clocks changed this morning

Daylight Saving Time ended on Sunday November 6, 2016 at 2 o'clock in the morning! Are your clocks correct?

Question: Can fetuses tell time?