We spring forward in March this year.

That Extra Hour Of Sunlight Is Coming

And we could all use the extra sunshine.

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is quickly approaching, and it’s good to know precisely when we spring forward. The change is more than just setting your clocks ahead. For parents, it also includes preparing your children to adjust their sleep schedule and getting your family unit ready to power through a few days of lost rest. Although it’s just an hour, it’s not.

But there’s a flip side to this that we’ve been eagerly anticipating for months. And that’s not feeling like it’s midnight when it’s barely 5:30 p.m. Our bodies won’t prematurely shut down, the kids get to play outside a bit longer, and overall we get to pack more activities in the hours. Springing forward and having that extra sunlight attached to the end of the day, after getting over the hump of the lost hour, makes a world of difference.

When Do We Spring Forward?

If you are ready for the time change, it’s just around the corner. The exact date of the hour jump varies based on the year, and this year we go forward an hour on Sunday, March 13, at 2 a.m. But the time is based on each separate time zone. If you have a computerized clock that automatically converts, like on your cellphone, when it hits 1:59 a.m., the next time it will read is 3:00 a.m.

Why Does Daylight Saving Time Exist?

More than losing an hour and gaining light, there’s some science behind DST. During this period, which carries us through the summer months, the days become longer because of the earth’s rotation. That rotation causes the angle of its axis to tilt straight toward the sun, giving us extended light and more inspiration to stay active. Research shows that having the extra hour of light influenced an increase in daily physical activity in children in some countries.

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When Did Daylight Saving Time Start?

The first country to invoke DST was Germany in 1916. It was an effort to conserve fuel during WWI. The U.S. followed suit in March of 1918. This began a worldwide effort to conserve energy, thus using the natural light from the sun to illuminate our surroundings and produce power when possible. After the war, President Woodrow Wilson, who wanted to maintain DST, was in the minority vote. But it was reinstated by President Roosevelt in 1942 at the start of WWII, and in 1966 Congress passed the Uniform Time Act requiring every state to participate in DST. Now, 40% of countries operate on DST.

If you’ve missed the longer sunshiny days, you’re not alone. Now’s a great time to sit down with your family and plan some fun outdoor activities you can soon enjoy before the street lights come on.