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We turn our clocks back this weekend, but do you really know why?

By Sara DiNatale
A clock on display at Country Rustic Decor in Spring Hill. (Times files)

You get an extra hour of sleep this weekend.

Now that you have the most essential bit of information on your mind, letís get down to the details.

Our clocks "fall" back at 2 a.m. Sunday. If youíre one of the few people who havenít started relying on the alarm on your cellphone, remember to crank or dial your clocks back an hour before going to sleep Saturday night.

On Sunday morning, you might feel a tinge more rested after enjoying the extra hour of sleep that was stolen from you when clocks jolted forward in the spring.

Your morning commutes wonít be so dark, especially if youíre an early riser.

But why is this still a thing we have to do? A lot of the assumptions about the semiannual time shift is probably wrong.

Despite what your parents may have said, daylight saving time does not benefit farmers. They work by the sun, not what the clock says. In fact, it was farmers who worked against the time shift in 1919, a year after the United State first passed such legislation. Agriculture workers found it to be an inconvenience.

According to research compiled by the History Channel, itís retailers and businesses that have long championed for the practice.

That original legislation was actually successfully repealed in 1919 ó but that didnít stop cities like New York and Chicago from continuing to change their clocks. By 1966 the Uniform Time Act set things straight and standardized the time change for everyone, but states could opt out.

Today, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 outlines the United Statesí daylight saving time.

The modern version of the legislation says that at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday in March, clocks spring forward an hour. Eight months later, on the first Sunday in November, clocks move back an hour. States and U.S. territories can apply to be exempted from the shift.

According to an article by How Stuff Works, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and most of Arizona (except the Navajo Indian Reservation) stay on standard time the entire year.

Another myth: Benjamin Franklin did not invent daylight saving time. While the Founding Father wrote of maximizing daylight hours and adjusting sleep schedules, he never suggested changing the clocks themselves. That idea seems to have originated from a British gentleman youíve probably never heard of named William Willett. He pushed parliament to implement shifting the clocks by 80 minutes. He was never successful. He died in 1915, shortly before his general idea caught on.

So is any of this worth it?

A column posted to The Conversation this week suggests not so much. In fact, the article says that research actually points out that "daylight saving time is more burden than boon."

People donít save on electricity, which is often argued. While thereís some evidence crime rates are lower during daylight saving months because fewer people are out after dark, the overall net benefits of the ritual are murky. When we "spring forward" people wind up sleep deprived and not alert. Thereís an adjustment period.

And there will be again this coming week, too, as we all experience a collective jet lag.

Good luck.

And try not to drop the kids off at school an hour early by mistake.

Contact Sara DiNatale at [email protected] Follow @sara_dinatale.