Daylight Saving Time: When Is It? When Does It Start?

by Lauren Boisvert
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(Photo by Catharine Lane/Getty Images)

You’ve heard that we’re falling back an hour, but when exactly is it happening, and why? And why don’t Hawaii and Arizona participate? Daylight Saving Time is ending, and we’re headed back into Standard Time for the winter. Here’s what it is, when it’s happening, and why exactly we turn our clocks back in the fall.

The W’s of Daylight Saving Time

Who?

Every state in the US falls back an hour at the end of Daylight Saving Time except Hawaii and Arizona because they never sprang forward to begin with. Additionally, the US Territories of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam also do not observe Daylight Saving Time.

What does this mean, exactly? Well, in March, while we’re all waking up grumpy because we lost an hour of sleep, folks in Arizona and Hawaii treat Daylight Saving Time like any other day. And then in November, when we’re all forgetting about Daylight Saving Time ending and thinking it’s later than it is because we forgot to reset our clocks, Arizona and Hawaii are hanging out like normal. This came about in 1966 with the Uniform Time Act. This was a way to regulate the country’s clocks, but it wasn’t mandatory. So, these two states opted out.

Many states have toyed with the idea of getting rid of Daylight Saving Time altogether. There have been many legislatures passed through the Senate from many states, from Florida to Washington, but they need House approval.

What?

Daylight Saving Time (not “savings,” although that does roll off the tongue better) came about initially as a way to save energy. And by energy, I mean candlewax. Benjamin Franklin proposed in the 1700s that “the city of Paris could save millions of pounds of candlewax every year if residents woke up early in the morning and went to bed early at night,” according to the House of Representatives’ history archives. So, we have Ben Franklin to blame for this, apparently, but it wasn’t widely accepted until about a century later.

Now, we have many other ways to save energy, and have even harnessed sunlight to create energy. There’s really no reason to adjust the clocks during the sunniest months now except by habit.

When?

Daylight Saving Time starts at 2 am on the second Sunday of March. This year that was the 13th. Then, we spring forward, or set our clocks ahead an hour. It ends on the first Sunday of November, this year that’s the 6th. We fall back an hour, resetting our clocks to Standard Time.

Preparing to Turn Your Clocks Back This Year

Honestly, ending Daylight Saving Time and reverting to Standard Time has always seemed easier, at least for me. No waking up late because your alarm clock doesn’t automatically change, no thinking it’s earlier than it is because your stove and microwave clocks are an hour behind, and no being late to work because of it. There’s something enticing about moving to Hawaii or Arizona, if only so I don’t have to deal with Daylight Saving Time.

That being said, make sure you’re prepared to change the clocks on Sunday, Nov. 6. Don’t be showing up an hour early for work, get your extra sleep, and have a good Standard Time season.

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