TODAY   |  November 04, 2012

Daylight saving time: Why do we 'fall back'?

NBC’s Mike Taibbi sheds light on the little known reasons and science behind why Americans change their clocks twice a year.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> many of you probably appreciated the extra hour of sleep overnight now that daylight saving time has come to an end, but for many people the whole spring ahead/fall back change the clocks thing is an annoyance that doesn't make a lot of sense. and that includes our mike taibbi .

>> reporter: for nearly a century the whole idea of daylight saving time has been to save precious energy and resources in tough times by matching the available hours of daylight to the time when the most people were out and about. fdr even called it wartime. in peacetime falling back means waking up once a year with one extra hour for anything.

>> sleeping, definitely sleeping.

>> i will probably exercise, go for a run.

>> reporter: but it turns out there's never been a clear consensus on how much energy daylight saving time actually saves and for every parent happy the kids don't have to leave for school in the dark, already others unhappy at having daylight left for early trick-or-treating. owners like jimmy have to reset their own clocks in many of their customers' digital wachls.

>> come monday morning people will rush in to set their watches because they can't do it themselves. we'll do it for them.

>> reporter: and then there are watch collectors like me who ever since i was a kid i've had this fascination with time and timepieces and the closest thing to a fashion choice i ever make is which one to wear. they're all analog, not one digital watch , which means from the bulova with the accutron to the tuning fork with the $10 tie mex you have to move the hands manually, and while it may seem like a waste of time, there are a lot of people like me.

>> they're into the timepieces. to them it's not only a work of art, it's not only beauty, but it's also a regimentation and it helps them to be able to march in time with what it is that they need to do.

>> reporter: so, except for folks in arizona and hawaii who voted to stay on standard time year round, everyone resets their clocks and watches and in the fall gets that bonus extra hour.

>> i wish we did this every weekend.

>> reporter: though for some of us one extra hour isn't nearly enough. for "today," mike taibbi , nbc news, los angeles .