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Here's Everything You Need to Know About Daylight Savings Time

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There's no surer sign that warmer temperatures are upon us than daylight savings time: which officially makes its often unanticipated return Sunday, March 12. Whether the time change has got you giddy or filled with dread (hey, we do lose one hour of sleep!), we've covered all you need to know about this over 100-year-old tradition. (And yes, plenty of barbecue meals are in your near future!)

How does daylight savings work?

Daylight savings time (DST) is the practice of setting the clocks forward one hour in order to take advantage of the most daylight. In the Northern Hemisphere (except for in Hawaii and Arizona), this occurs in spring time, as the sun begins to rise later in the day and daylight extends into evenings. Your smartphones and computers will automatically adjust, but make sure to reset those microwave clocks or you may find yourself embarrassingly late to work on Monday morning!

When does daylight savings time start this year?

This year, DST starts on Sunday, March 12th at 2 a.m.

When does daylight savings time end?

DST will last until Sunday, November 5th. On this day, you will set your clocks BACK one hour to reverse the cycle.

Who invented daylight savings?

Although Benjamin Franklin is originally attributed with the idea, DST was first implemented over a century later in 1916 by Germany as a way to save fuel during WWI.

Why do we have daylight savings time?

The idea behind DST is energy conservation. The theory goes that since people will be awake during the extended daylight hours, they will rely more on natural (versus manmade) light in the evenings. However, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, this statement doesn’t appear true. In 2008, they reported that daylight savings time reduces annual energy use by a meager 0.03 percent. Plus, a study conducted near the University of California Santa Barbara found that DST might even increase energy consumption by one percent. Go figure.

It’s also a myth that DST was invented to appease farmers: In fact, they strongly opposed it. Many a middle school teacher will preach that DST created extended hours in the fields, but farmers actually claim it reduced productivity and made them rush to get their crops to the market. As it happens, farmers are the reason the U.S. eliminated daylight savings time after WWI, and didn’t reinstate the tradition until 1966.

So, why don't Arizona and Hawaii participate in daylight savings time?

The answer to this question, at least in part, comes down to the myth of DST's hand in energy conservation. Arizonians seem to agree that longer sunlight means more air conditioning used and energy wasted. Plus, the state--which hasn't participated in DST since 1967--apparently enjoys being on the same time zone as California (versus one hour ahead).

As far as Hawaii's non-compliance, the concept just doesn't really make sense for them. Being much closer to the equator than any other mainland state, the times of sunset and sunrise don't vary nearly as much in Hawaii as in the north. Enough said.

How does setting the clocks forward affect my internal clock?

It’s true: you will lose one hour of sleep between Saturday and Sunday evening--and that sheer fact alone may make you want to cringe. In order to avoid feeling tired throughout your day, make sure to go to bed one hour earlier than normal to make up for the difference. There's no need to fret--your body will quickly adjust to the change!