Daylight Saving Time: When do you change your clock this fall?
Ora 2Am va deveni ora 1Am schimbarea se face in noaptea de sambata spre duminica, deci vom dormi un ceas in plus. Bisericile vor fi pline de credinciosi odihniti, bine ar fi…
The official time change occurs at 2 a.m. Sunday, when we all set our clocks back to 1 a.m. (Confession: I change my clocks when I wake up Sunday.)
The good news is you’ll get an extra hour to sleep. The bad news is on Monday we’ll be complaining how dark it is on the way home from work. Friday’s sunset in Syracuse will be 5:58 p.m.; Monday’s will be 4:54 p.m.
On the occasion of falling back to regular time, we take a stab at answering some of the most common questions.
Why do we do this, anyway? Because Congress said so. In 2005, Congress mandated that beginning in 2007 daylight saving time would start the second Sunday in March and end the first Sunday in November — an extension of four weeks. States could opt out.
(If you’re really, really interested, you can read the actual law adopted by Congress. Be forewarned: the first sentence is a dense 181 words long.)
Is all this clock switching bad for your health? A study in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine found that heart attacks increased for the three days following the switch to DST in the spring, presumably because losing sleep is bad for your heart. The good news: there was almost no increase in the fall, when you get an extra hour of sleep.
But just in case, here is some advice about how to handle your altered sleep schedule.
Do we save energy? Probably not — even though the establishment of DST in the United States came in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The leading author on daylight savings time said it only cuts electrical use by 0.5 percent — if that. A study in Indiana in 2008 showed little change in energy use when parts of the state went to daylight saving time. Similar results were found in Australia in 2000, when part of the country switched temporarily to daylight saving time to extend the hours for Olympics events.
What’s with Arizona? Congress allowed states to opt out of daylight saving time. The only one that did was Arizona, which has a long and contentious history with DST. The Navajo Nation, whose reservation lies mostly in Arizona, does observe daylight saving time, though. But the smaller Hopi Nation, which is surrounded by the Navajo reservation, goes along with the rest of the state.
Does everybody in the world do this? No. Worldwide, 78 countries observe daylight saving time and 160, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, don’t. Of those that do, most fell back in late October. Only the United States, Canada, Cuba and several other nearby countries wait until Nov. 2.
Isn’t there a better way? Most countries don’t bother changing time in spring and fall. Things are even easier in China, which is about the same size as the continental U.S. and has just one time zone for the entire country. One author proposes that the United States switch to two time zones and get rid of daylight saving time altogether.
Whether springing forward or falling backward, though, just remember: Time is always on your side.