Skip to content

You will set your clocks ahead an hour tonight, but why?

By Gabe Hewitt, iLander Student Editor

Days are getting longer and you know what that means: Daylight Saving Time. It’s time to spring your clocks ahead (pun intended). People seem to just turn their clocks ahead one hour, but do they know why they do it?

Daylight Saving Time is the “turning ahead” of clocks so that evenings have more daylight and mornings have less, according to WebExhibits. The idea of adjusting clocks to fit the sun’s movement has been around for centuries. 

“I don’t like it because I lose sleep,” CHHS senior Janiese Dixon said. “One hour of sleep can make a big difference.”

Some like Dixon dislike DST for the same reasons. They sometimes forget to adjust their clocks and that throws off their daily routines the next day. It’s also hard adjusting to a new sleep schedule with an hour lost or gained.

The modern-day inventor of the DST system has been debated. New Zealand entomologist G.V. Hudson is one person credited for inventing it in 1895. Hudson’s job involved collecting insects so his value of daylight led him to come up with the idea of a two-hour daylight saving shift. The other person is English builder William Willet in 1905. He came up with the idea when he noticed that Londoners were sleeping long hours during daylight. He also didn’t like ending his golfing early at sunset, so he wanted to adjust clocks.

The United States began using DST during World War I. The DST law was so unpopular that it was repealed and only became optional depending on the specific state. This optional daylight saving caused confusion for decades. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Uniform Time Act that would be put into effect for the whole country. This act began DST on the last Sunday of April and have it end on the last Sunday of October. In the mid 2000s, DST was changed so that it begins on the second Sunday of March and ends on the first Sunday of November.

The main idea of DST is to take advantage of the sunlight. DST also saves energy, some say. Studies conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation in 1975 showed that DST cuts the entire country's electricity usage by a small but significant amount because less electricity is used.

Many have mixed views on DST. Whether you like it or not, as you set your clocks ahead an hour before you go to sleep tonight, remember that DST is used for a reason.

“Sometimes I feel like an Eskimo because I leave home when it’s dark and come home when it’s dark,” said CHHS junior Jaimee Leibfried. “I like that DST helps me see daylight more.”

(Photo: The sun rises on a new day, one in which clocks are an hour ahead of where they were the day before. Photo by Aaron Vehling.)