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Daylight saving time 101

By | March 10, 2013 | Opinion

Rise and shine, fellow sleep-deprived students – happy Daylight Saving Time. The impending day of doom has passed, leaving us in zombie mode for the next week, or until our brains and bodies adjust and we feel human again.

The want and need for DST is widely debated. While one side claims that changing our clocks makes summer days longer and more fulfilling, the opposing side worries that our already sleepless nation will suffer further consequences.

What we can’t argue with are the facts. In the spirit of everybody’s favorite controversial time phenomena, here are some odds and ends about “time change.”

1. New Zealand insect-lover and astronomer George Vernon Hudson suggested the concept of DST in a letter to the Wellington Philosophical Society in the 1898 so that he could collect insects in daylight after his shift-work — and it worked.

2. The official name is Daylight Saving Time, not Daylight Savings Time. Most people do not drop the ‘s’ at the end.

3. The week before we “spring forward” and lose an hour of sleep is, ironically, National Sleep Awareness Week.

4. Europeans refer to DST as “Summer Time.”

6. Car accidents increase by 17 percent on the Monday after the time changes each spring, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

7. Arizona and Hawaii (with the exception of Indian reservations in Arizona) never change their clocks because of their climates and amount of sunshine and heat.

8. Driving across a certain 100-mile stretch in Arizona (including Hopi reservation and the Navaho Nation) will take you through seven different clock changes.

9. With the loss of sleep, an increase in heart attacks is seen during the first week of DST. The rate of heart attacks reduces when ‘Standard Time’ comes around again.

10. Getting out in the sun as quickly as possible helps reset the body clock, says Karin Mahoney, spokeswoman for the Better Sleep Council.

11. Kazakhstan abolished DST in 2005 due to its negative health effects.

12. This year, Daylight Saving Time in the United States began at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 10 and ends at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 3.

13. The majority of the world does not participate in DST.

14. The further away a country is from the equator, the more likely it is to observe DST.

15. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 percent of American employees are already sleep-deprived, costing U.S. companies $63.2 billion in lost productivity annually. These are the ones most rattled by daylight-saving time.

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