When do i turn the clocks back?
There are so many upsides to summer! Pool parties, beach trips, breezy dresses... need we name more?! While those are all great, a big plus is the amount of daylight we get. And we can thank both the spring equinox and Daylight Saving Time (DST) for that! Remember back to the second Sunday of March (at 1:59 a.m., to be exact) when the clocks skipped forward an hour? That was us switching from Standard Time to DST! Sure, you lost an hour of sleep that day, but the amount of extra sun you got in the evening was sure worth it!
As we await the summer solstice on June 21, you'll notice the sun still setting a bit later each day! So, when we're in the midst of summer, it'll feel like the day just never ends! Before you know it, you'll feel like a happy plant in the sun, basking in all the extra natural light! Though, with all this change probably comes a lot of questions. Like, when is Daylight Saving Time, and why do we change the clocks twice a year? Where does such a tradition come from? Here's what to know about DST and when to set a reminder in your calendar if you have to change your clock manually!
What's great about Daylight Saving Time is that it means exactly what it says: To "save time!" In all, it was put into motion so that we utilize the daylight we receive more efficiently. The time the sun sets and rises depends on the season, so it's just a way of adapting! Though, to be more specific, moving the clock forward one hour from Standard Time to DST is what helps gives us more daylight towards the end of our days in summer. And when we go ahead and switch back to Standard Time in the fall, we receive more daylight during winter mornings. (Because we all need a little pick-me-up to get us out of bed during the cold months.)
If you're like Ree Drummond, that early morning sunlight definitely does you justice! The Pioneer Woman and her husband Ladd are known for waking up extra early to get things done around the ranch. But if you're a 9-5 kinda person, then you'll probably prefer DST.
Daylight Saving Time falls on the second Sunday in March each year, and ends on the first Sunday in November each year. We tick the clocks forward an hour in March for that extra sunlight in the summer we've been talking about, and we set back the clocks an hour in the fall so we can have the sun rise a little earlier in the Winter for our morning people out there.
With that being said, this year Daylight Saving Time falls on March 12, 2023 and ends on November 5, 2023.
Oh boy, is there a lot here! A few stories prevail about how the United States adopted the time change. Benjamin Franklin wrote an early "proposition" in a 1784 letter to The Journal of Paris, where he suggested the city could save 64,050,000 pounds of candle wax burned if only its citizens would rise with the sun. He also suggested firing cannons in every street as a city-wide alarm clock, so the letter is taken mainly as satire (thank goodness).
In 1916, Germany was the first country to enact Daylight Saving Time to save money on energy costs during WWI; the United States and much of Europe followed suit. Then, comes a slightly chaotic time for Daylight Saving Time in America—the federal law was repealed after the war, reinstated during WWII, and made optional after that war ended. This "choose-your-own-adventure" DST made traveling between states an absolute nightmare. (Who could have seen that coming? 😂)
Finally, in 1966, the federal government passed the Uniform Time Act, which standardized DST for six months, from April to October. It was extended twice more to seven months in 1986, and our current eight months in 2005.
In recent news, the Sunshine Protection Act was proposed as a United States federal law that would make Daylight Saving Time permanent, meaning no more changing the clocks twice a year!
On March 15, 2022, the U.S. Senate passed the bill unanimously. Currently, it still needs to be discussed by U.S. House of Representatives before it can be signed into law by the President. If the bill were to pass in the next year, permanent Daylight Saving Time would take effect on November 5, 2023.
Eliminating what feels like an arbitrary time switch sounds like a simple plan, one most people could get behind if they dislike Standard Time. However, some scientists and experts warn that there are serious health risks. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine's (AASM) official position cites an "abundance of evidence" showing that the abrupt switch from Standard Time to DST leads to an "increased risk of adverse cardiovascular events, mood disorders, and motor vehicle crashes." Even without the sudden change, DST is less aligned with our natural circadian biology. The AASM concludes that the seasonal time change should be eliminated but in favor of year-round Standard Time.
Hawaii and Arizona already observe permanent Standard Time and have done so since 1967 and 1968, respectively. Their reasons were the same: both states get lots of sunlight year-round anyway! A handful of U.S. territories also don't observe the change for the same reason, including Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
As of October 2022, 29 states had introduced state legislation addressing DST, with the majority wanting to make it permanent. Under federal law, states can opt out of daylight saving time and remain on Standard Time as Hawaii and Arizona have. However, they are not allowed to remain on daylight time without congress enacting a federal law or gaining state approval from the U.S. Secretary of Transportation saying that the change would support commerce.
Love it or hate it, most of us have learned to live with switching our clocks twice a year.
>> Read more trending news
On Sunday, March 12 at 2 a.m., most of America will “spring forward” as clocks are set up an hour for the beginning of daylight saving time.
While many look forward to more daylight hours in the afternoon, more states are questioning the wisdom of twice-a-year time changes (remember, we “fall back” in November). Why do we spring forward? Is it really necessary to fall back?
Here’s a look at why we started using DST and why we continue to do it.
How it started
We can blame New Zealand entomologist George Hudson for daylight saving time. He wanted extra hours after work to go bug hunting, according to National Geographic, so he came up with the idea of just moving the hands on the clock.
William Willett, who is the great-great-grandfather of the band Coldplay’s Chris Martin, arrived at the same idea a few years later and proposed moving the clock forward in the spring and back in the fall in his work, “British Summer Time.”
Willett’s idea was picked up a few years later by the Germans who used it during World War I as a way to save on coal use. Other countries would soon follow suit, most with the idea it would be a cost-saving measure.
President Woodrow Wilson agreed that DST was a good idea and in 1918, he signed legislation that would shift the country to the new time system.
Why did the U.S. make the change?
The idea of setting clocks ahead in the spring was pitched as a way to help farmers with crops and harvesting. In reality, it was retailers who were behind the push for adjusting clocks, looking for another hour of shopping time in the afternoon and evenings.
While most of the country and about 40% of the world use DST, there are some exceptions. Two states – Arizona and Hawaii – and several territories don’t fall back or spring forward with DST.
Arizona has not observed DST since 1967 when it filed for an exemption under the DST exemption statute. Hawaii, too, opted out under the exemption. The state has never used DST.
Will we keep it?
It’s likely that most U.S. states will continue the practice of changing the clock twice a year at least for a while, though some state legislatures have discussed ending the practice.
In the last three years, 19 states have enacted legislation to provide for year-round daylight saving time if Congress were to allow such a change and, in some cases, if surrounding states enact the same legislation. Full-time DST is not currently allowed by federal law and would require an act of Congress to make a change.
Most of the United States begins Daylight Saving Time at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March and reverts to standard time on the first Sunday in November. In the U.S., each time zone switches at a different time.
In the European Union, Summer Time begins and ends at 1:00 a.m. Universal Time (Greenwich Mean Time). It begins the last Sunday in March and ends the last Sunday in October. In the EU, all time zones change at the same moment.
See more information about elsewhere in the world.
Spring forward, Fall back
During DST, clocks are turned forward an hour, effectively moving an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening.
Spelling and grammar
The official spelling is Daylight Saving Time, not Daylight SavingS Time.
Saving is used here as a verbal adjective (a participle). It modifies time and tells us more about its nature; namely, that it is characterized by the activity of saving daylight. It is a saving daylight kind of time. Because of this, it would be more accurate to refer to DST as daylight-saving time. Similar examples would be a mind-expanding book or a man-eating tiger. Saving is used in the same way as saving a ball game, rather than as a savings account.
Nevertheless, many people feel the word savings (with an 's') flows more mellifluously off the tongue. Daylight Savings Time is also in common usage, and can be found in dictionaries.
Adding to the confusion is that the phrase Daylight Saving Time is inaccurate, since no daylight is actually saved. Daylight Shifting Time would be better, and Daylight Time Shifting more accurate, but neither is politically desirable.
When in the morning?
In the U.S., clocks change at 2:00 a.m. local time. In spring, clocks spring forward from 1:59 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.; in fall, clocks fall back from 1:59 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. In the EU, clocks change at 1:00 a.m. Universal Time. In spring, clocks spring forward from 12:59 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.; in fall, clocks fall back from 1:59 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.
In the United States, Daylight Saving Time commences at 2:00 a.m. to minimize disruption. However, many states restrict bars from serving alcohol between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. At 2:00 a.m. in the fall, however, the time switches back one hour. So, can bars serve alcohol for that additional hour? Some states claim that bars actually stop serving liquor at 1:59 a.m., so they have already stopped serving when the time reverts to Standard Time. Other states solve the problem by saying that liquor can be served until "two hours after midnight." In practice, however, many establishments stay open an extra hour in the fall.
In the U.S., 2:00 a.m. was originally chosen as the changeover time because it was practical and minimized disruption. Most people were at home and this was the time when the fewest trains were running. It is late enough to minimally affect bars and restaurants, and it prevents the day from switching to yesterday, which would be confusing. It is early enough that the entire continental U.S. switches by daybreak, and the changeover occurs before most early shift workers and early churchgoers are affected.
Some U.S. areas
For the U.S. and its territories, Daylight Saving Time is NOT observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, and Arizona. The Navajo Nation participates in the Daylight Saving Time policy, even in Arizona, due to its large size and location in three states.
A safety reminder
Many fire departments encourage people to change the batteries in their smoke detectors when they change their clocks because Daylight Saving Time provides a convenient reminder. "A working smoke detector more than doubles a person's chances of surviving a home fire," says William McNabb of the Troy Fire Department in Michigan. More than 90 percent of homes in the United States have smoke detectors, but one-third are estimated to have dead or missing batteries.
Daylight saving time begins on Sunday, March 12, 2023, when the clocks skip ahead an hour at 2 a.m. local time. The clocks will fall back again on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023 at 2 a.m. local time, when daylight saving time (sometimes erroneously called daylight savings time) ends for the year. These fall and spring time changes continue a tradition started during World War I.
In 2022, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly voted to make daylight savings time permanent, but the legislation stalled in the U.S. House. On March 2, 2023, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) reintroduced the Sunshine Protection Act of 2023 to the 118th Congress.
Here's a look at when daylight saving time starts and ends during the year, so you know when to change your clock and not miss an important meeting. You'll also learn about the history of daylight saving time, why we have it now and some myths and interesting facts about the time change.
Historically, daylight saving time (DST) has begun in the summer months and ended right before winter, though the dates have changed over time as the U.S. government has passed new statutes, according to the U.S. Naval Observatory (USNO).
So when does the time change? Starting in 2007, DST begins in the U.S. on the second Sunday in March, when people move their clocks forward an hour at 2 a.m. local standard time (so at 2 a.m. on that day, the clocks will then read 3 a.m. local daylight time). Daylight saving time then ends on the first Sunday in November, when clocks are moved back an hour at 2 a.m. local daylight time (so they will then read 1 a.m. local standard time).
Benjamin Franklin takes the honor (or the blame, depending on your view of the time changes) for coming up with the idea to reset clocks in the summer months as a way to conserve energy, according to David Prerau, author of "Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time" (Thunder's Mouth Press, 2005). By moving clocks forward, people could take advantage of the extra evening daylight rather than wasting energy on lighting. At the time, Franklin was ambassador to Paris, and he wrote a witty letter to the Journal of Paris in 1784, rejoicing over his "discovery" that the sun provides light as soon as it rises.
Even so, DST didn't officially begin until more than a century later. Germany established DST in May 1916, as a way to conserve fuel during World War I. The rest of Europe came onboard shortly thereafter. And in 1918, the United States adopted daylight saving time.
Though President Woodrow Wilson wanted to keep daylight saving time after WWI ended, the country was mostly rural at the time and farmers objected, partly because it would mean they lost an hour of morning light. (It's a myth that DST was instituted to help farmers.) And so daylight saving time was abolished until the next war brought it back into vogue. At the start of WWII, on Feb. 9, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt re-established daylight saving time year-round, calling it "War Time."
After the war, a free-for-all system in which U.S. states and towns were given the choice of whether or not to observe DST led to chaos. And in 1966, to tame such "Wild West" mayhem, Congress enacted the Uniform Time Act. That federal law meant that any state observing DST — and they didn't have to jump on the DST bandwagon — had to follow a uniform protocol throughout the state in which daylight saving time would begin on the first Sunday of April and end on the last Sunday of October.
Then, in 2007, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 went into effect, expanding the length of daylight saving time to the present timing.
Fewer than 40% of the world's countries observe daylight saving time, according to timeanddate.com. However, those who do observe DST take advantage of the natural daylight in the summer evenings. That's because the days start to get longer as Earth moves from the winter season to spring and summer, with the longest day of the year on the summer solstice. During the summer season in each hemisphere, Earth, which revolves around its axis at an angle, is tilted directly toward the sun.
Related: Read more about the science of summer.
Regions farthest away from the equator and closer to the poles get the most benefit from the DST clock change, because there is a more dramatic change in sunlight throughout the seasons.
Research has also suggested that with more daylight in the evenings, there are fewer traffic accidents, as there are fewer cars on the road when it's dark outside. More daylight also could mean more outdoor exercise (or exercise at all) for full-time workers.
The nominal reason for daylight saving time has long been to save energy. The time change was first instituted in the U.S. during World War I, and then reinstituted again during WW II, as a part of the war effort. During the Arab oil embargo, when Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) stopped selling petroleum to the United States, Congress even enacted a trial period of year-round daylight saving time in an attempt to save energy.
But the evidence for any significant energy savings is slim. Brighter evenings may save on electric lighting, said Stanton Hadley, a now-retired senior researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory who helped prepare a report to Congress on extended daylight saving time. But lights have become increasingly efficient, Hadley said, so lighting is responsible for a smaller chunk of total energy consumption than it was a few decades ago. Heating and cooling probably matter more, and some places may need air-conditioning for the longer, hotter evenings of summer daylight saving time.
Hadley and his colleagues found that the four weeks of extra daylight saving time that went into effect in the United States in 2007 did save some energy, about half of a percent of what would have otherwise been used on each of those days, they said in a report to Congress published on Sept. 30, 2020. However, Hadley said, the effect of the entire months-long stretch of daylight saving could very well have the opposite effect.
A 1998 study in Indiana before and after implementation of daylight saving time in some counties found a small increase in residential energy usage. Temporary changes in Australia's daylight saving timing for the summer Olympics of 2000 also failed to save any energy, a 2007 study found.
Part of the trouble with estimating the effect of daylight saving time on energy consumption is that there are so few changes to the policy, making before-and-after comparisons tricky, Hadley told Live Science. The 2007 extension of daylight saving time allowed for a before-and-after comparison of only a few weeks' time. The changes in Indiana and Australia were geographically limited.
Ultimately, Hadley said, the energy question probably isn't the real reason the United States sticks with daylight saving time, anyway.
"In the vast scheme of things, the energy saving is not the big driver," he said. "It's people wanting to take advantage of that light time in the evening."
Most of the United States and Canada observe DST on the same dates with a few exceptions. Hawaii and Arizona are the two U.S. states that don't observe daylight saving time, though Navajo Nation, in northeastern Arizona, does follow DST, according to NASA.
Over the years, state legislatures have considered at least 450 bills to establish year-round daylight savings time, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And as of 2022, at least 19 states had introduced legislation to make standard time permanent, doing away with DST all together. However, the U.S. Congress would have to amend the Uniform Time Act (15 U.S.C. s. 260a) to authorize states this allowance, according to The New York Times.
Nine of Canada's 10 provinces observe daylight saving time. The provinces and territories in Canada that stay on standard time all year include: Some regions of the province of British Columbia, parts of Saskatchewan, northwest Ontario and east Quebec, according to timeanddate.com. Meanwhile, Yukon made DST permanent in 2020. The locations in British Columbia that don't use DST include: Chetwynd, Creston, Dawson Creek, Fort Nelson and Fort St. John; in Saskatchewan, only Creighton and Denare Beach observe DST, according to timeanddate.com.
Most of Europe currently observes daylight saving time, which began at 1 a.m. GMT on the last Sunday in March — that's March 26, 2023, when Europeans move their clocks ahead one hour at 1 a.m. GMT. Daylight saving time ends (winter time) at 1 a.m. GMT on the last Sunday in October, or Oct. 29, 2023, when clocks were moved back an hour. DST will begin again on Sunday, March 31, 2024, according to timeanddate.com.
Most European countries observe DST, with the exception of Russia, Iceland and Belarus, according to timeanddate.com. In the United Kingdom, DST is called British Summer Time (BST).
DST is called Central European Summer Time (CEST) in: Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Norway, Poland, Spain and Switzerland. Daylight saving starts at 2 a.m. local time for these countries, when clocks are moved ahead an hour to 3 a.m. The same 2 a.m. clock change is followed for Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania, which call DST Eastern European Summer Time (EEST).
During summers in Ireland, DST is called Irish Standard Time (IST) and it begins at 1 a.m. local time, when clocks are moved ahead an hour to 2 a.m. The same clock change occurs in the Canary Islands, the Faroe Islands and Portugal, which call DST Western European Summer Time (WEST). However, even the European Union may propose an end to clock changes, as a recent poll found that 84% of 4.6 million people surveyed said they wanted to nix them, the Wall Street Journal reported. If the lawmakers and member states agree, the EU members could decide to keep the EU in summer time or winter time, according to the WSJ.
The DST-observing countries in the Southern Hemisphere — in Australia, New Zealand, South America and southern Africa — set their clocks forward an hour sometime during September through November and move them back to standard time during the March-April timeframe.
Australia, being such a big country (the sixth-largest in the world), doesn't follow DST uniformly: New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory follow daylight saving, while Queensland, the Northern Territory (Western Australia) do not, according to the Australian government. In the observing areas, DST begins on the first Sunday in October — Oct. 1, 2023 — and it ends on the first Sunday in April — or April 2, 2023.
Today, most Americans spring forward (turn clocks ahead and lose an hour) on the second Sunday in March (at 2:00 A.M.) and fall back (turn clocks back and gain an hour) on the first Sunday in November (at 2:00 A.M.).