Daylight Saving Time begins on March 10 - here's the history behind the bi-annual time change, and why some states have gotten rid of it

Sunset silhouette at Kande Beach, Nkhata Bay, Lake Malawi, MalawiSunset silhouette at Kande Beach, Nkhata Bay, Lake Malawi, MalawiShutterstock

  • At 2 AM on March 10, Americans will "spring forward" change their clocks to an hour later for Daylight Saving Time.
  • While "springing forward" means losing an hour of sleep, the sun will be out for longer in the day.
  • The common wisdom about DST is that it's about farming, but it's not.
  • The history of daylight saving time goes back to World War I, when it was thought to save energy.
  • Here's the full history of daylight saving time, and why some warmer states don't recognize it.

On March 10th at 2 AM ET, states that recognize daylight saving time will "spring forward" and move their clocks one hour ahead.

While "springing forward" means losing an hour of sleep, the sun will be out for longer in the day, a nice benefit for those living in colder, northern states.

Thinkers including Benjamin Franklin, New Zealand scientist George Hudson, and Englishman William Willett advocated for plans that would give them more sunlight in the day going all the way back to the 18th and 19th centuries.

Read more: 10 things you didn't know about Benjamin Franklin, who first suggested an idea similar to Daylight Saving Time

The United States and several other European countries enacted daylight saving time during World Wars I and II as an energy-conservation measure, and kept it during peace-time.

Today, most of the US except for Hawaii, Arizona, and many US territories all recognize daylight savings time. While many northern states appreciate the extra hour of sun, some states which experience unbearable heat in the summer prefer an hour of night instead.

Here's the full history of daylight saving time in the United States.

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The idea for daylight saving time is attributed to a British man named William Willett, who published a pamphlet in 1907 titled “The Waste of Daylight,” which argued for an extra 80 minutes of sunlight in the summer.

The idea for daylight saving time is attributed to a British man named William Willett, who published a pamphlet in 1907 titled “The Waste of Daylight,” which argued for an extra 80 minutes of sunlight in the summer.

Source: The History Channel

While Britain didn't act on Willet's proposal at the time, Germany implemented daylight saving time during World War I as a way to converse electricity by maximizing sunlight.

While Britain didn't act on Willet's proposal at the time, Germany implemented daylight saving time during World War I as a way to converse electricity by maximizing sunlight.

Source: The History Channel

“They remembered Willett’s idea of moving the clock forward and thus having more daylight during working hours,” author and historian David Prerau told National Geographic. “While the British were talking about it year after year, the Germans decided to do it more or less by fiat.”

“They remembered Willett’s idea of moving the clock forward and thus having more daylight during working hours,” author and historian David Prerau told National Geographic. “While the British were talking about it year after year, the Germans decided to do it more or less by fiat.”

Source: National Geographic

The United States also implemented national daylight saving time during World War I under President Woodrow Wilson in 1918 —but Congress later repealed the measure in 1919.

The United States also implemented national daylight saving time during World War I under President Woodrow Wilson in 1918 —but Congress later repealed the measure in 1919.

Source: The History Channel

Multiple studies, however, have since concluded that daylight saving time has no or negligible benefits when it comes to energy conservation.

Multiple studies, however, have since concluded that daylight saving time has no or negligible benefits when it comes to energy conservation.

Source: History Channel

It's a common misconception that farmers pushed for daylight saving in the United States to get more time to work outside in the fields.

It's a common misconception that farmers pushed for daylight saving in the United States to get more time to work outside in the fields.

Source: The History Channel

Because farmers' schedules revolved around the sunlight and not the clock, a change in the amount of sunlight threw their entire workday out of whack. Agricultural groups were behind the effort to repeal daylight saving time in 1919.

Because farmers' schedules revolved around the sunlight and not the clock, a change in the amount of sunlight threw their entire workday out of whack. Agricultural groups were behind the effort to repeal daylight saving time in 1919.

Source: The History Channel

After the national repeal of daylight savings time in 1919, many individual states and cities continued to adjust their clocks twice a year but at varying days and times, what Time magazine characterized in 1963 as "a chaos of clocks."

After the national repeal of daylight savings time in 1919, many individual states and cities continued to adjust their clocks twice a year but at varying days and times, what Time magazine characterized in 1963 as "a chaos of clocks."

Source: The History Channel

The History Channel reports that at the time, "passengers on a 35-mile bus ride from Steubenville, Ohio, to Moundsville, West Virginia, passed through seven time changes."

The History Channel reports that at the time, "passengers on a 35-mile bus ride from Steubenville, Ohio, to Moundsville, West Virginia, passed through seven time changes."

Source: The History Channel

In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, which set daylight saving time to begin the last Sunday in April and end the last Sunday in October.

In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, which set daylight saving time to begin the last Sunday in April and end the last Sunday in October.

Source: The History Channel

Hawaii, most of Arizona, and a number of US territories do not, however, recognize daylight saving time — largely because night-time brings cooler, more bearable temperatures.

Hawaii, most of Arizona, and a number of US territories do not, however, recognize daylight saving time — largely because night-time brings cooler, more bearable temperatures.

Source: National Geographic

“In the summer, everybody loves to have an extra hour of daylight in the evening so they can stay out another hour,” Prerau told NatGeo. "In Arizona, it’s just the opposite. They don’t want more sunlight, they want less.”

“In the summer, everybody loves to have an extra hour of daylight in the evening so they can stay out another hour,” Prerau told NatGeo. "In Arizona, it’s just the opposite. They don’t want more sunlight, they want less.”

Source: National Geographic

But Florida, another state with year-round warm weather, passed a bill in 2018 observe daylight saving time year-round — as opposed to just six months out of the year.

But Florida, another state with year-round warm weather, passed a bill in 2018 observe daylight saving time year-round — as opposed to just six months out of the year.

Source: National Geographic

Some studies have linked the decrease in sleep associated with daylight saving time to negative health impacts, such as increases in heart attacks, car accidents, and workplace injuries.

Some studies have linked the decrease in sleep associated with daylight saving time to negative health impacts, such as increases in heart attacks, car accidents, and workplace injuries.

Source: Detroit Free Press, Business Insider

Lawmakers in several states including Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, and Idaho have introduced legislation this year to end daylight saving time in their states.

Lawmakers in several states including Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, and Idaho have introduced legislation this year to end daylight saving time in their states.

Sources: KING-5 Seattle, Patch, ABC13 Houston, Idaho State Journal

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