Why Lose an Hour: The story behind Daylight Saving Time

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After finally adapting to our fall schedules, daylight saving time (DST) is poised to throw us off our routine. Prepare to lose an hour of sleep in exchange for longer, lighter days on Sunday, March 8.

Benjamin Franklin first thought of this biannual time travel as a way to make better use of the daylight hours. The transition from standard time to DST, which signifies the change to spring, essentially moves an hour of daylight from morning to evening. The practice of resetting clocks to maximize daylight began shortly after World War I, and in the 60s, President Lyndon Johnson signed a law designating that DST would begin the last week of April and stretch to the final Sunday of October. However, in 2007 the Bush Administration enacted a new law that extended DST by one month so that it started in March rather than April. The new law accounts for DST occupying 65 percent of the calendar year.

Although this practice has been adopted by nearly the entire country, states can choose to opt out of DST by passing a law. States that have done this include Hawaii, most of Arizona and parts of Alaska. Some groups advocate to get rid of daylight saving time altogether; Quartz magazine, a global digital business outlet, proposed a new way to combat daylight saving time. In their article “The US needs to retire daylight savings and just have two time zones,” they suggest that the United States should simply have two time zones that are one hour apart. They write, “it would seem to be more efficient to do away with the practice altogether. The actual energy savings are minimal, if they exist at all. Frequent and uncoordinated time changes cause confusion, undermining economic efficiency.” Many Americans support their idea and have taken to the Internet with the hashtag #DownWithDST to garner support for their cause.

Regardless of how you spend your extra hour of sunlight, be sure to check out our HAPPENing section to find fun activities around the East Lansing area to fill your sun-filled days.


Evan Sherbert is a senior professional writing major with a specialization in editing and publishing. A Tetris fanatic, he is constantly awaiting the long blue piece to clear all of his lines. When he isn’t binge-reading or slugging down coffee he enjoys writing realistic fiction.


Tags: March