Don't forget to turn back your clocks before bed Saturday night, or you might spend Sunday, and possibly Monday, in a state of confusion. Daylight Saving Time officially ends this Sunday, November 2, at 2:00am -- a time chosen to cause minimum disturbance, as most people are asleep.
Some clocks preemptively fell back last Sunday, however, due to obsolete programming. Many electronic devices automatically adjust for the time change, but this neat trick doesn't quite work for clocks made before the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which changed the start and end dates of DST as of 2007. This problem can be easily remedied on cell phones by turning off the "adjust for daylight saving time" option under the clock settings, and switching the time manually twice a year.
The official date change was meant to curb the nation's energy use, but a study by University of California-Santa Barbara economics professor Matthew Kotchen and Ph.D. student Laura Grant concluded that DST actually does the opposite. They analyzed monthly meter readings from Indiana households from before and after the entire state adopted DST in April 2006, and found that the switch generated an increase of $8.6 million in electricity bills due to the increased use of heating in the morning and air-conditioning in the afternoons.
Standard time is closer to the body's natural sleep patterns, according to biological sciences professor David Glass of Ken State University in Ohio. However, as the days grow shorter, with continually less sunlight than the twelve hours seen at the Autumn Equinox, we tend to deprive our body of the additional sleep it craves, as our daily lives continue to revolve around other regular activities. After analyzing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey (ATUS), economics professors Daniel S. Hamermesh, Caitlin Knowles Myers, and Mark L. Pocock found that business hours and television schedules had a greater effect on sleep patterns than the times of sunrise and sunset.
This Sunday, enjoy the extra hour of sleep that results from setting your clocks back an hour.
In addition to changing your clocks, most fire departments recommend using this event as a reminder to test your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector to make sure they work properly, and change their batteries if necessary.
If you get confused about the current time, you can always check the official United States time, at http://www.time.gov/. Otherwise, have fun discovering how many clocks there are in your house -- don't forget the oven, microwave, watches, and your car.
Oh, and the automatic coffee maker. Definitely the automatic coffee maker.
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