There are certain things you probably shouldn't mess with, and time is one of them. And yet, twice a year we do it.
Sunday morning, we're doing it again as the U.S. – most of it, at least – returns to Standard Time from Daylight Saving Time. At 2 am Sunday, the clocks go back an hour, to 1 am.
In reality, we are simply readjusting to “real” time, hence the label “Standard Time.” But we've all gotten used to Daylight Saving Time over the last few months, so it's a big adjustment.
If you've been getting up in the dark each morning, chances are there will now be a little light in the sky. What is 6 am today will be 5 am starting Sunday.
On the other hand, you may be driving home in the dark. By the time December 21 rolls around, it will get dark at 4:30 pm.
Let's go shopping
The rationale for changing the clocks twice a year is largely economic. It's believed people spend more money when it is light outside. While we haven't yet gotten to the point where we can create more hours of sunlight each day, shifting time so that people have more daylight hours at the end of the day is thought to promote commerce.
And yet, the holiday shopping season -- the most important shopping period of the year for retailers -- takes place during Standard Time, not to mention the darkest months of the year.
Then why not have Daylight Saving Time all year? That's never been adequately explained, though the UK tried it one year and it actually worked out pretty well. For some reason, it wasn't tried again.
Despite the adjustment we have to make Sunday, getting an extra hour of sleep isn't such a bad thing. However, the clocks change again in early March, taking that hour of sleep from us as the clocks move up one hour.
Still confused? National Geographic produced the video below to try and shed some light on Daylight Saving Time.