Daylight Savings Time 2012: Today


alarm clockIt may have been a short sleep for some this Sunday, as the clocks jumped ahead for Daylight Saving Time.

Daylight Saving Time kicked off March 11 at 2 a.m. with the clocks springing forward, giving the day one more hour of light in the evening and residents one less hour of sleep last night.

Why 2 a.m.? Every year, DST takes place on the second Sunday of March with most of the United States turning clocks up at 2:00 a.m to avoid the disruption it could cause later in the day when things like buses are running and stores are opening.

Turning the clocks up allows for more light during the evening hours and less in the morning hours. And while many enjoy the extra hour of daylight during the warm weather, the practice has been criticized at times, with complaints that the change causes problems for occupations tied to the sun like farming.

As we’ve previously reported, in the northern hemisphere, DST begins between March and ends in November. In November clocks will have to move back again—The United States Energy Policy Act of 2005 says Daylight Saving Time ends on the first Sunday of November.

But not everyone will be waking up an hour early today. What’s interesting, is that DST isn’t observed by the entire United States.

According to National Geographic, the federal government doesn’t require U.S. states or territories to observe Daylight Saving Time, which is why residents in Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands won’t need to change their time.

Adjusting schedules to the sun has been a practice that dates back to ancient civilizations who adjusted schedules to take advantage of sunlight. But Benjamin Franklin is the man behind DST. Franklin reportedly suggested the idea in 1784 as a way to lengthen the lives of candles and use morning sunlight instead.

The concept of DST was also credited to New Zealand entomologist, George Hudson, whose job gave him more leisure time and led him to value daylight, ultimately proposing a two-hour daylight-savings shift.