You Snooze, You Lose: The History of Daylight Saving Time

Hands On

Love it or hate it, this year on March 12, most of the United States’ (earmuffs, Arizona and Hawaii) technically advanced microwave, phone and dashboard clocks will turn forward an hour in less than a second. In that split-second, we lose an hour of sleep, but gain an extra cup of coffee and an hour of daylight. All because some Englishman on horseback in the early morning hours had some ‘bright’ idea to push time forward. Wait a minute, does Marty McFly know about this?

Some more summer
That horseman, by the name of William Willett, campaigned passionately for the adoption of longer summer days up until his death in 1915. Sadly, he never got to see the first true enactment of his invention—by Germany in 1916. The Germans embraced Daylight Saving Time as a means to conserve energy during World War I. Germany’s war adversary, and Billy’s homeland, the United Kingdom followed suit weeks later. Talk about a plan that backfired.

What time is it?!
A year after it was instated in America, Daylight Saving Time was repealed in 1919, but many people continued to change their dials like rabble rousers. Since there was no unifying standard across the country, or even across a state, you guessed it: Chaos ensued. In 1963, Time Magazine aptly coined this time “chaos of the clocks.” You could pass through several neighboring cities, and several time zones at once. There were 23 different start and end dates in Iowa, alone. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Show me the money!
Today, common arguments in favor of Daylight Saving Time is to benefit farmers (on the contrary, actually) conserve energy (difficult to quantify) and reduce the number of car accidents at night. But the biggest proponents of keeping Daylight Saving Time are retail, recreation and tourism destinations: More daylight = more consumers = more cha-ching! Yeah, we’re pretty sure that adds up.

Clock it to me: Tips for battling the time change
Though the reason we still practice these seasonal time shifts is up for debate, we can all agree that the adjustment period can be difficult. So let’s hold each other’s hands, grab our extra-large coffee cups and get through this together. Read on and learn some helpful tips you can share, and gifts you can give, to help save somebody, somewhere, some discomfort.

Practice makes perfect
Or, makes the sudden time change less jarring on your body. As much as you hated those words coming from your piano teacher, you might want to tune in for this: Get ahead of the curve, and set your clock gradually forward starting a few days earlier than Sunday, to get your body used to its new forthcoming schedule. If nothing else, you’ll be a little early to your appointments. Or for some of you, on time. You know who you are.

Let’s give ‘em something to walk about
Though less scintillating than gossip, a brisk walk outside and early in the morning does wonders to help your body adjust to a new schedule. Regular exercise releases serotonin which, among other benefits, helps us adjust..

Lighten up
Would ya? Seriously, smiling is a good look, but that’s for another time. Just like quiet time in Kindergarten, darken your room and settle down before bed. This includes lights from electronics, m’kay? In the morning, open your shades or lighten your room back up to queue your body’s natural clock.

Get in my belly
Whoever “They” are, it’s not a conspiracy when they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Food in your stomach first thing in the AM is your body’s natural signal to get on up and at ‘em.

Boom! Roasted
When all else fails, caffeine prevails. Sure, making habits of healthy activities to adjust to the time change is probably a good idea, but there’s only so much time in a day. If time is of the essence, a caffeine kick in the rear to get into gear is just what the doctor prescribed. So, take a healthy dose of one of our energy-boosted, caffeine-loaded gifts for men, such as the Coffee Percolator Crate, the Coffee Ammo Can and the Personalized Mug Mini Crate. Then, call us in the morning. Not too early, though.