We go to bed sluggish, bloated from long, hard winter and wake up to blue skies, greener grass of spring

Spring forward, Fall back... well, at least I get some exercise for the year

Posted:  Saturday, March 9, 2013 - 11:30am

Don’t forget to set your clocks forward one hour before you go to bed Saturday evening. How can we forget, it’s plastered everywhere we look in every media conceivable to mankind. Why an hour? Why can’t we just split the difference setting our clocks forward a half-hour and leave it that way all year? What’s 30 minutes in the grand scheme of things?

Plenty, according to the federal government. It all started around 1883 when Benjamin Franklin first introduced the idea to Parisians as a way to save candles. And it was still in debate as recently as 2007, but we don’t want to turn this into a history lesson, so go to this article published by the California Energy Commission, “Daylight Saving Time: Its History and Why We Use It.” It’s everything you ever wanted to know about daylight saving time.

The official spelling is daylight saving time, not daylight savings time as a lot of people like to say and print.

Saving is used here as a verbal adjective (a participle). It modifies time telling us more about its disposition. It is the act of saving daylight, a saving daylight kind of time, so what that really means is it’s more about seasons than time, but seasons, or even solstice saving time just doesn’t sound right. Grammatically speaking it should read daylight-saving time, with hyphenation.

Basically we’re moving an hour of daylight from morning to night giving us an extra hour of sunlight in the evening. And since the days are getting longer, the psychological effects are profound, or so it’s assumed. We say spring forward and fall back so you’ll know which way to move the clock.

The change happens at 1:59 a.m. Why? Essentially it lessens the impact on everybody. The majorities of people are home and wake an hour early. Yes, it takes a couple of days to get used to it. I spring forward, but fall back into bed because I lost an hour sleep.

The time 1:59 a.m. works because if we did it at midnight the day would switch back to yesterday. Imagine how confusing that could get? Try explaining that one to your computer’s operating system.

We’re adjusting for the seasonal shift in daylight hours to give you more time to enjoy the daylight, save energy, reduce crime and keep the world in synch, but you would have already known that if you followed the link I gave you earlier.

We go to bed sluggish and bloated from a long, hard winter and wake up to blue skies and the greener grass of spring.

Daylight saving time begins on the second Sunday in March. This year it’s March 10, 2013, at 2 a.m. and ends on the second Sunday in November. This year it’s Nov. 3 at 2 a.m.

The federal government doesn't require U.S. states or territories to observe daylight saving time, which is why residents of Arizona, Hawaii and Puerto Rico won't need to change their clocks that weekend. They don’t observe the rule.

Now let’s get back to the time thing and here’s a logic loop that should make you stop and think for a minute.

If one twin is born at 11:50 p.m. and the next is born at 12:14 a.m. they celebrate separate birthdays. That’s an easy one to comprehend and understand, but….

Say a woman pregnant with twins goes into labor at 1:34 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 9, 30 minutes later she delivers her second child at 2:04 a.m., but because of the time change the second baby is actually delivered at 1:04 a.m. 39 minutes before the first one was born. How do we explain that one to the twins when they're old enough to ask: "Which one of us is older?"

The time change is also a chance to remind you to change your batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. More than 90 percent of homes in the United States have smoke detectors, but one-third are estimated to have dead or missing batteries.

The International Association of Fire Chiefs strongly recommends and encourages you to not just check, but also replace the batteries in each of your smoke detectors to make sure they are good.

Of course companies that sell batteries are all over this and support it. Energizer, that’s the one with the bunny that keeps going, and going and going, even suggests that it’s a good time to change the battery in your clocks too.

Here’s a tip that bunny won’t like. Save your old and dead smoke detector batteries. A dead battery will run a clock for months on end. Try it, you’ll be surprised when the sweep hand continues its endless loop around the dial. And it’s still going strong six months from now.

But we digress. Welcome to daylight saving time.

Sources: U.S. Naval Oceanography; Wikipedia, Ask.com; Energizer.com, International Association of Fire Chiefs.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia.com & IMDb.