For those in North America, this Sunday marks the end of daylight savings time and an extra hour of sleep tonight.
The entire concept of Daylight Savings Time came out of trying to get the most out of natural light. In the winter, the sun rises later and sets earlier, thus we fall back an hour so that we get to enjoy more of the natural sunlight during our day rather than working the entire time.
The first country to adopt Daylight Savings Time was Germany during World War I. The Germans wanted to make the most out of the natural light and avoid using artificial light as much as possible. Soon, other countries on both sides of the conflict followed suit. When the war ended, most countries went back to Standard Time. DST returned during World War II to once again preserve precious resources.
Ancient civilizations had their own variations of Daylight Savings Time. One example is the Roman water clock, which used different scales to measure time in different months. The idea of modern Daylight Savings Times was actually conceived by Benjamin Franklin in the late 18th century, but would not be implemented for quite some time.
Daylight Savings Time occurs in several countries throughout the world, though the dates which it begins and ends vary throughout locations. For example, the North American DST begins on the second Sunday of March and ends on the first Sunday of November. But in New Zealand, it begins on the last Sunday of September and ends on the first Sunday in April. The start and end dates are reversed between the Southern and Northern Hemispheres.
It is also important to note that in many places DST is not federally regulated. In Canada, Saskatchewan does not observe DST and instead keeps the same time all year long. The same thing happens in the United States, in Hawaii and Arizona, as well as in parts of Australia.
DST is mainly observed in Europe and North America, with relatively few countries outside of these continents observing it. Virtually no Asian countries observe time change, and relatively few African and South American nations do either.
Time change occurs at 2 a.m. on Sunday, November 1. While computers and cellphone will generally change the time automatically, all other clocks should be adjusted prior to going to bed or immediately upon waking up.