NEW JERSEY - As the debate continues over the bi-annual ritual of turning the clocks back in fall and ahead in spring, residents get an extra hour of sleep tonight as Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 3 at 2 a.m. The process of changing clocks back in fall and ahead in spring began during World War I as a way to conserve energy.
Federal regulation of time began in 1918 with the Standard Time Act, which set up the boundaries for the standard time zones in the United States. In 1966, the Uniform Time Act established the current practice of Daylight Saving Time, which runs from March through November. The Energy Policy of 2005 made Daylight Saving Time four weeks longer. Only Congress or the Secretary of Transportation can make time-zone adjustments. It is the United States Department of Transportation that is responsible for overseeing time zones as well as Daylight Saving Time.
The Uniform Time Act was passed to bring order to the countries clocks because up until that point each state regulated their own clocks, which lead to a bit of confusion in many spots. However, since the Uniform Time Act was not made mandatory, folks living in Arizona and Hawaii won't have to remember to turn their clock back an hour before going to bed tonight. US Commonwealths also do not adjust their clocks in fall and spring.
The debate over the fall and spring time changes is a hot button topic in some states with California, Massachusets and Florida leading the pack in pushing to keep Daylight Saving Time all year long. Many health experts have pointed toward the time change as causing health issues because it messes with the body's biological clock. The fall change can sometimes trigger depression with the loss of an hour of daylight and an increase in heart attacks has been noted in the spring just after the clocks go forward an hour. Workplace and car accidents often increase on the Monday after the loss of an hour's sleep in the spring. Many parents of young children also complain of sleep issues with kids following the change.
As the debate and research continues, don't forget to turn the clocks back one hour before going to bed tonight. Daylight Saving Time returns on Sunday, March 8.