Not-so-fun facts about Daylight Saving Time

If you're feeling a little bit off this morning, you're not alone; count our David Pogue among those still trying to make sense of Daylight Saving Time...

Here are three fun facts about Daylight Saving Time!

 / Credit: Getty Images
/ Credit: Getty Images

First, Benjamin Franklin did not invent it. He did write a letter to the editor in 1784, complaining about people who sleep past sunrise. "Let cannon be fired in every street, to wake the sluggards," he wrote.

It was a JOKE, people!

He also suggested taxing people who close their shutters in the morning, and putting a limit on how many candles you could buy. A joke.

Second fun fact: The actual inventor was a New Zealand entomologist, George Vernon Hudson, who wanted more daylight for hunting bugs. He suggested a two-hour shift every season. Count your blessings!

And the third fun fact? It's actually Daylight SAVING Time. Not SAVINGS. It's just like "money-saving coupons" or "life-saving treatment." And yet, oddly, we don't use a hyphen. (OK, maybe that fact wasn't super-fun.)

Anyway, the idea behind Daylight Saving Time is to shift the time we wake up, go to work, come home, and go to bed, so that we have more daylight hours at the end of the day. Kids can go outside and play; grown-ups can shop.

 / Credit: CBS News
/ Credit: CBS News

Trouble is, shifting our schedules like this is a body-clock disaster. Study after study shows links to more heart attacks and strokes, more car crashes, more workplace injuries, more deer strikes, more headaches, more depressive episodes, and lower SAT scores.

And maybe worst of all, every time you switch, TV viewership drops!

Basically, you're jet-lagging yourself twice a year. No wonder most Americans would like to eliminate the clock-swapping altogether. So, this very year, the Senate passed a bill, the "Sunshine Protection Act," that would make Daylight Saving Time permanent. In a bipartisan vote!

Florida Republican Marco Rubio, who introduced the bill, told the Senate, "I know this is not the most important issue confronting America, but it's one of those issues where there is a lot of agreement."

So, yes, let's make Daylight Saving Time permanent. I can't think of anyone who would object!

David's son, Jeffrey: "Yeah, but you don't have to walk to school in the pitch-black, Dad!"
David: "OK, I can think of some people."

Honestly, from a health standpoint, the best idea isn't making Daylight Saving Time permanent; it's making standard time permanent! Standard time has the best correlation between the sun's cycle and your body clock. Sunrise makes you wake up, and sunset gets you sleepy.

Either way, the House has shown no interest in picking up the Senate's bill. So, for now, we're going to go right on wrecking our sleep twice a year.

So, enjoy your extra hour tonight; you'll be paying for it in March.

For more info:

History of Daylight Saving Time (Department of Transportation)

Story produced by Amol Mhatre; Editor: Chad Cardin.

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