What is Daylight Savings Time and Why Do We Use It

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the practice of turning the clock ahead as warmer weather approaches and back as it becomes colder again so that people will have one more hour of daylight in the afternoon and evening during the warmer season of the year.


Who practices DST?

The closer you live to the equator, the more equal your daily split of light vs dark is. A country on the equator will have a close ratio of 12 hours daylight and 12 hours of moonlight. However, the further you go away from the equator gives you longer or shorter sunlight hours, therefore needing consistency to level out these harsh swings. Standard time was instituted in 1883. Prior to this, cities and towns were responsible for keeping and monitoring their own times.


What is Standard Time?

Standard time is putting all clocks in a time zone to the same time.


Benefits of DST:

  • Energy Conservation: Less energy is used during peak evening hours when families are home. More daylight later in the evening resulting in a percentage of power use reduction during daylight savings time.
  • Safety: Studies have shown that traffic accidents and pedestrian fatalities are reduced during this time.
  • Economic growth: More daylight hours means more time for activities. From shopping in your local town square to attending different events, carnivals, etc. More daylight hours results in economic growth for certain regions.
  • Improve your Mood: As with anyone, after those long, cold and dark winter months, we are relieved when we change the clocks. For many, this makes their mood improve due to more fresh air, and sunlight.


See the timeline below for a complete progression. From the idea’s inception to the act of being signed into Law in the US, it took 124 years to implement a completed DST law.


1883- Standard time was instituted in 1883. Prior to this, cities and towns were responsible for keeping and monitoring their own times.

1784- First conceived by Benjamin Franklin in 1784 during his time in Paris.

1907- A man by the name of William Willett created the pamphlet “Waste of Daylight”, which proposed advancing clocks 20 minutes on each of the 4 Sundays in April. And increasing them by the same amount in September.

1916- Although Willett passed in 1915, his mission was carried out and Britain passed this act on May 17th 1916.

1917- Many other countries started to adopt DST Laws as well.

1918- US finally adopted DST into Law

1919- US rescinded Law due to congressional override.

1966- The Uniform Time Act was passed in 1966 and established a uniform DST in each time zone through the US.

1974- The Nixon Administration signed this into law the “Daylight Savings Time Energy Conservation Act” on January 4th, 1974. It was at this time that standardization efforts were implemented.

1986- Law amended to change dates/times for DST start/end. Was originally started First Sunday in April.

2007- This was updated again to reflect that clocks will always change at 2 A.M. on the Second Sunday or March and again on the first Sunday in November.