Why Do We Turn Back the Clocks? The Reason Why We Fall Back Every Year

CROSBY, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 15: One of the life-size body cast statues of 'Another Place' created by the artist Antony Gormley looks out over the Mersey Estuary at sunset at Crosby beach on April 15, 2014 in Crosby, United Kingdom. Gormley today received his Knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Source: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images News/Getty Images

I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to Sunday, Nov. 2 – and probably for the laziest reason ever. Nov. 2 is the end of Daylight Saving Time, which means we get an extra hour of sleep. In states that implement the practice (because not all of them do), clocks will fall back at 2 a.m. Your smartphone will correct itself, but if you have anything with non-automatic settings or an analog clock, you'll have to turn it back manually. While you're probably thankful for the extra sleep, you may not know why we bother turning our clocks twice a year. And if we're being totally honest, neither did I. So why do we turn back the clocks each winter?

The idea behind Daylight Saving Time is simple: By transferring an hour of daylight from the crack of dawn to the evening, more people will be able to enjoy it. It benefits the environment by saving energy, and it reduces traffic accidents by providing more light for times of high traffic. The practice was kind of unpopular and some states are still trying to get rid of it, but the Uniform Time Act — which Congress passed in 1966 to define time zones — made the practice a standard protocol in the U.S. Arizona and Hawaii are the only states that do not currently participate. However, Daylight Saving Time isn't just an American practice – several other countries observe it too for similar reasons. 

It's definitely nice for those of us who work a standard nine-to-five shift to have an extra hour of daylight to enjoy after work. It also, for many reasons, makes sense to try to reduce electricity use. But, a study from National Geographic shows. the energy savings are minimal. Kind of perplexing situation. 

For me, I don't see any particular reason to get rid of it. Firstly, most of us are pretty used to the time shifts by now. Secondly, so many of our clocks are automatic now, many of us don't have to change a thing. So, if you ask me, I happily will deal with changing all my clocks for a nice, bright summer evening — especially now that the winter months are upon us. Ugh.

I guess an extra hour of sleep this Sunday will make up for it. 

Images: Getty (2)

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