Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Daylight Saving Time-Who Thought of it Anyway?

366 • 90 • Daylight saving

Daylight saving time (DST)- spring forward by setting your clocks ahead an hour on Saturday night,  March 11, 2012.

My questions is "how did it all get started" and "why do it at all".

In 1784, Benjamin Franklin lightheartedly suggested the idea to a Paris newspaper to conserve candles.

In Britain, builder William Willett, who adored early morning horseback rides, began fighting for it in 1905 but he died before his efforts were rewarded, said Bryner and David Prerau in his book “Seize the Day: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time.”

Germany was the first to introduce it, during World War I. Britain and the United States followed. President Lyndon Johnson signed the widespread practice into law in 1966, although individual states have the ability to opt out. President George W. Bush extended daylight saving time four weeks beginning in 2007. Now, about 70 countries have some form of it, covering more than 1 billion people.

In a 2010 Rasmussen poll, nearly half of the American public (47 percent) say DST is not worth the hassle. Another point to consider is that Daylight saving time has mixed effects on people's health. DST can disrupt our "circadian rhythm", putting our bodies out of their natural seasonal sleep cycle.  Transitions into and out of DST can disturb people's sleeping patterns, and make them more restless at night. Night owls tend to be more bothered by the time changes than people who like mornings, Finnish researchers concluded in 2008.

There's a spike in heart attacks during the first week of daylight saving time, according to another study published in 2008. The loss of an hour's sleep may make people more susceptible to an attack, some experts say. When daylight saving time ends in the fall, heart attacks briefly become less frequent than usual.

People are safer drivers during daylight hours, and researchers have found that DST reduces lethal car crashes and pedestrian strikes. In fact, a study concluded that observing DST year-round would annually prevent about 195 deaths of motor vehicle occupants and about 171 pedestrian fatalities.

If you're worried about losing an hour, just remember it isn't permanent. Daylight saving ends Nov. 4, 2012.
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