Ready to spring forward?

That Ben Franklin – what a kidder. In 1784, in a moment of whimsy, old Ben penned a letter, An Economical Project, to the Journal of Paris suggesting that candle usage could be economized by getting people out of bed earlier in the morning; thus, making a case for the thrift of natural light versus artificial light – a concept that some think planted the seeds for what we now know as Daylight Saving Time. Guess what? Ben was joking! Mr. “Early to bed early to rise,” never meant for the idea to be taken seriously.
So, this weekend, Sunday, March 12 to be exact, we turn our clocks ahead an hour; springing forward for Daylight Saving Time. Some people just can’t take a joke.

The real history of Daylight Saving Time – who created it, when it went in to effect, why not everyone uses it, etc., etc. – is too long for this discourse. Suffice it to say that DST does not exist without controversy. There are many reasons to keep it and just as many to get rid of it.

The real question is how does it affect our daily lives? First, it messes with our internal clocks, we lose an hour of sleep and the amount of sleep we get can change our metabolism, affect our eating habits, tamper with our heart health, make us more accident prone, less productive and a little moodier.

Proponents of DST, say it saves energy, boosts tourism and encourages more people to exercise outdoors. In fact, in the 1980s, the golf industry estimated that one extra month of DST could generate up to $400 million a year in extra sales and fees. Woo-hoo.

Daylight Saving Time was created to cut energy costs. After all, if work hours were more in the daylight hours, money could be saved on electricity, but evidence is not conclusive that Daylight Saving Time leads to energy conservation.

All I know is that I am losing an hour of sleep this weekend and I’m not laughing.

Thanks, Ben.

Posted by MJ Thomas

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