It's that time of year again to change your clocks. By Keith Carter, Jeff Dionise and Shannon Green, USA TODAY
Tonight we'll lose an hour of sleep, for a longtime rite of spring is upon us: The start of Daylight Saving Time, which begins at 2 a.m. Sunday.
At that moment (or the night before), the few analog clocks still around need to "spring forward" an hour, turning 1:59:59 a.m. into 3 a.m. Since most of our computers, phones and DVRs do it automatically, it's not as much of a chore as it used to be.
Starting Sunday, one hour of daylight is switched from morning to evening. We don't go back to Standard Time until Sunday, Nov. 6.
Credit — or blame — for the biannual shift goes back to Benjamin Franklin, who published "An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light" in a 1784 journal after he noticed that people burned candles at night but slept past dawn.
But he never saw his plan put into action. The United States first implemented daylight saving during World War I as a way to conserve fuel. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Uniform Time Act into law.
Under the act, states and territories can opt out of daylight saving. It isn't observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, nor in most of Arizona.
Believe it or not, the U.S. Department of Transportation is actually in "charge" of Daylight Saving Time here in the States According to folks there, switching to Daylight Saving Time reduces energy use, saves lives by preventing traffic accidents and decreases crime.
Studies disagree: One Finnish study found a spike in heart attacks during the first week of the new time. Researchers associated the results with sleep deprivation, which affects heart health.
A Canadian researcher found a 5 percent to 7 percent increase in fatal car accidents in the three days after the switch to Daylight Saving Time. Other studies have seen a similar increase in accidents in the fall when we gain that hour back.
The energy savings may be mythical as well: Researchers found switching to daylight saving uses 1 percent less energy for lighting but 2 percent to 3 percent more for heating and air conditioning.
Getting ready for the switch is advisable: “I think you should start imagining it's Daylight Saving on Friday,” James MacFarlane of the Toronto Sleep Institute told the Weather Network.
“Then you have two days to grow accustomed to it and you're less likely to get into problems Monday morning,” he said.
Contributing: Shari Rudavsky, The Indianapolis Star; Michael Morain, The Des Moines Register