Time has come to spring forward

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By Greg Summers

It’s time to “Spring forward.”

Sunday at 2 a.m. signals the start of daylight-saving time, when Americans set their clocks ahead by an hour to create another hour of sunlight each evening.

Here are a few interesting facts about the time change you may not be aware of:

– It’s officially called daylight-saving time, not daylight-savings time.

– Until 2005, a federal law, administered by the Transportation Department, specified that daylight time applies from 2 a.m. on the first Sunday in April until the last Sunday on October in all areas that don’t specifically exempt themselves.

However, Congress enacted the Energy Policy of 2005 which extended daylight-saving time by four weeks beginning in 2007. It now begins at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.

– The states of Arizona and Hawaii and three U.S. territories – American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands don’t observe daylight-saving time. Indiana adopted daylight-saving time in 2006.  

– Benjamin Franklin advocated the change while serving as the American envoy to France in 1784 as a joke. Franklin saw it as a peculiar way to keep people from using candles as much in summer months. Franklin also satirically suggested firing cannons at sunrise to waken sleeping Parisians.

– Daylight-saving time was first used during World War I by the allies as a way to conserve fuel by reducing the need for artificial light.

– The time change has a marked effect on your health. More than 1.5 billion people across the globe are affected by it. A 2007 study in Sweden showed a 5 percent increase in heart attacks on the first three workdays after clocks were set ahead for the start of daylight-saving time. The effect of the transition was greater for women than men, linking the increased risk of heart attacks to chronic sleep deprivation. Researchers also learned when daylight-saving time ends, the number of heart attacks briefly falls.

– A Finnish study in 2008 showed “graveyard shift” (11 p.m. to 7 a.m.) workers are bothered more by the change in sleeping patterns than any other group.      

– Compiled from various sources