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Bedtime Stories

The True History of Daylight Saving Time

What is Daylight Saving Time anyway? It’s an annual, government-mandated punishment to rob us all of an hour of sleep, leaving everyone in a state of irritable confusion for days... Oki, maybe not, but it sure feels that way! Put simply, Daylight Saving Time (DST) is a way to get everyone up an hour earlier so they can take advantage of an extra hour of sunlight.

DST runs from mid-March to early November, followed by roughly four months of Standard Time. One thing is for sure, no matter what time zone you’re in, you’ll always get the best sleep on an OkiOki.

So, why did we all start participating in this ritualistic time travel?

Who Invented Daylight Saving Time?

Benjamin Franklin did not invent daylight saving time, but still, the concept almost made him the most hated man in Paris. Franklin proposed a very elementary version of Daylight Saving Time in a 1784 satirical essay titled “An Economical Project,” which suggested that everyone change their sleep schedules. The reason? To help Parisians save money on candles.

He jokingly recommended a cap on weekly candle purchases, an after-sunset curfew, and the ringing of all church bells at sunrise to torture the neighborhood “sluggards.” We’re sure the French are relieved these suggestions were never taken seriously.

About 100 years later, the idea was reintroduced by George Hudson, a New Zealand entomologist. Hudson wanted a couple of extra hours to frolic with bugs in the New Zealand sunshine (sounds like a nice quarantine hobby). Apparently, the authorities didn’t care much for this proposal and it was disapproved.

Seriously, What Time is It?

During World War I, the idea was picked up again as a potential way to save energy. The rationalization was if we have more sunlight in the day, we will be more inclined to go outside and enjoy it, thus leaving our lights off at home and conserving energy. The reason DST is not observed during winter is because it would conflict with farmers’ work schedules. No one likes to head to work in the dark.

So was DST finally here to stay?! No, not yet. Some towns honored DST while neighboring towns did not. If you worked several towns away from home, you could be on time, then late, then on time, then late again! Even the dates when DST began and ended varied across regions. In fact, some floors in the same building were on different time schedules.

All this jumping around from past to future was like living in a Quentin Tarantino film, so in 1966, the government mandated that DST and Standard Time must be observed on specific dates. However, the law allowed states the option to opt-out of DST altogether, which Arizona (residents living in 110°F weather aren’t keen on more sun) and Hawaii practice. Wondering when states are going to mandate that all mattresses should be OkiOki. Get a good night of sleep - it’s the law.

To Spring Forward or Stay Behind: The Battle Continues

For the last 50 or so years, dozens of countries have been steadily observing DST and enjoying that extra hour of summer sunlight. But whether or not to keep DST is an area of contention between sun-worshippers and sleepyheads worldwide.

Some studies show that the implementation of DST does not lead to a significant decrease in energy consumption (our homes are no longer coal-powered) and the lost hour of sleep can impact health, like increasing risk of heart attacks and workplace injuries.

On the flip side, It has been said that DST observation reduces crime and increases leisure activities such as shopping. For those who commute, there is the added bonus of not driving home in the dark from work. For snooze button hitters, an extra hour of sun while awake is more appealing than an extra hour of sun while sleeping.

Regardless of where you are or what time it is, sleep will always be the best on an OkiOki.
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