7 Weird Facts About Daylight Saving Time

Spring forward, folks!

The double-edged sword of Daylight Saving Time has arrived. Soon we'll have more sunshine to soak in during the day, but not without losing an hour of sleep and waking up to darker mornings. Here's what you should know about this strange trick we play on time...

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First of all, it's not "savings"

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It's "Daylight Saving," not "Savings.Don't feel bad if you've been pronouncing it incorrectly, you're definitely not alone. Now, you can school everyone who says it wrong! 

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Parts of Arizona don't participate

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Arizona, except for the Navajo Nation, doesn't fall back or spring forward. The state remains in Mountain Standard Time all year long. When the Pacific Standard Time states spring forward in March, they will share the same time as Arizona until Daylight Saving ends in November.

Arizona isn't alone in this. Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands don't observe Daylight Saving either. 

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It could save more than just daylight

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Studies done in the 1970s by the U.S. Department of Transportation showed that the entire country's electricity usage is reduced by about one percent each day with Daylight Saving Time. 

That being said, the study has been challenged more recently with inconclusive findings concerning energy reduction. 

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Daylight Saving Time coincides with Sleep Awareness Week

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All year long, adults suffer from a lack of sleep. However, the whole country loses one hour on Daylight Saving Time, which can exacerbate sleeping disorders. 

That's why The National Sleep Foundation purposely observes Sleep Awareness Week the seven days prior to the start of Daylight Saving Time. It raises awareness for an issue people suffer from all year long, but becomes much more noticeable when we spring forward.

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You can prepare before you lose sleep

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Maintaining a normal sleep schedule during Daylight Saving Time requires some prep. The About.com Sleep Disorders Expert recommends going to bed 15 minutes earlier each day for four days prior to springing ahead.

Since the first mornings of Daylight Saving Time are actually rather dark, the About.com Ergonomics Expert suggests using timers on fluorescent lights. This could trick your body into thinking the sun is up.

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If it is already too late and your sleep schedule is ruined...

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There are some ways to counteract that groggy sleep deprived feeling you are experiencing. While caffeine intake is the most popular method, paying attention to your posture also helps. Sitting upright activates the sympathetic nervous system, which increases alertness.

Bright lights from a light box, brief periods of mild activity, even socializing may also help counteract sleep deprivation. There is also the tried-and-true method of just scheduling time to get more sleep. 

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You can blame Ben Franklin

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If the idea of less sleep sends you into a rage, you can blame America's Founding Father, Ben Franklin, for suggesting it in the first place.

In 1784, Franklin proposed the idea within a letter to the editor in the . He explains in detail several reasons why people of his era need to live according to the sunlight. He closes with: 

I say it is impossible that so sensible a people, under such circumstances, should have lived so long by the smoky, unwholesome, and enormously expensive light of candles, if they had really known that they might have had as much pure light of the sun for nothing.

Unfortunately for Franklin, Daylight Saving Time wasn't drafted until 1909, when it became necessary to facilitate wartime production during the later hours of daylight.