Get ready to enjoy one more hour of sleep on Sunday. It’s time to set your clocks back one hour as Daylight Saving Time (DST) comes to an end on the first Sunday in November, this year on Nov. 4, at 2am! DST is the practice of setting the clocks forward one hour from standard time during the summer months, and back again in the fall, in order to make better use of natural daylight. And while we all love that extra hour of sleep as we gain back the hour we lost over the summer months, the downside of DST is we lose an hour of natural day light in the evening.
Just how did DST get started? Blame Benjamin Franklin, who came up with the idea of to reset clocks in the summer months as a way of conserving energy. At the time, Franklin was ambassador to Paris and he wrote a witty letter to the Journal of Paris in 1784, rejoicing over his “discovery” that the sun provides light as soon as it rises. DST didn’t officially begin until more than a century later. Germany established DST in May 1916 as a way to conserve fuel during World War I. The rest of Europe came onboard shortly thereafter, and in 1918, the United States adopted DST.
Though President Woodrow Wilson wanted to keep DST after WWI ended, the country was mostly rural at the time, and farmers objected, partly because it would mean they lost an hour of morning light. So, DST was abolished until the next war brought it back into vogue. At the start of WWII, on Feb. 9, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt re-established DST year-round, calling it “War Time.”
After the war, states and towns in the United States were given the choice of whether or not to observe DST, which led to chaos. So, in 1966, Congress enacted the Uniform Time Act. That federal law meant that any state observing DST had to follow a uniform protocol throughout the state in which DST would begin on the first Sunday of April and would end on the last Sunday of October. In 2007, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 went into effect, expanding the length of DST to its present timing.