In 2020, Daylight Saving Time begins the second Sunday in March at 2. a.m. In 2020, that date is Sunday, March 8th in most areas of the U.S. We officially consider ourselves “saving daylight hours,” so, in your time zone, you’ll be on “Daylight Time” (EDT, CDT, MDT, or PDT).
If it seems to you like this day used to come later in the year, you’re right. Prior to 2007, when the Energy Act of 2005 took effect, we used to “spring forward” during the first week of April and “fall back” during the final weekend of October.
Read How Much Daylight Are We Really Saving? where we question both the former and new DST dates and proposed a new system we thought would work better.
According to U.S. law, states can choose whether or not to observe DST. At present, Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Nation) and Hawaii, plus a few other U.S. territories, are the only places in the U.S. that do not observe DST and stay on standard time all year long.
Indiana did not vote to observe DST until April of 2006. Prior to that, some counties in the state observed it while others didn’t, which caused a lot of confusion, particularly since Indiana is split into two time zones already.
At least 40 countries worldwide observe Daylight Saving Time, including most of Canada, though the majority of Saskatchewan and parts of northeastern British Columbia don’t participate.
For obvious reasons, most countries near the equator don’t deviate from standard time.
Fact: The correct phrasing is “Daylight Saving Time” (not “savings” with an s), meaning: a time for saving daylight!
The first Sunday in November is when Daylight Saving Time ends in most areas of the U.S., so in 2020 we’ll “fall back” one hour and return to Standard Time on Sunday, November 1st at 2 a.m. Be sure to set your clocks back one hour before bed Saturday night!
The return of Standard Time means the Sun will rise a little earlier (at least according to our clocks) so if you’re an early riser, you’ll enjoy the rays as you have your breakfast. And you’ll “gain” one hour of sleep. The bad news? It will be dark by the time most of us get out of work.
How you feel about Daylight Saving Time probably depends on whether you are an early riser or a night owl. Obviously, changing the number on a clock doesn’t actually add any time to our days. That point was eloquently made in this old joke:
When told the reason for daylight savings time the Old Indian said,
“Only the government would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket.”
However, adding an hour of daylight onto the end of the day, after most of us have gotten out of work, can feel like a gift after a long winter of dark evenings. As the warmer spring weather arrives, nothing could be nicer than having more time in the evening to enjoy it.
Ben Franklin is often credited for inventing the idea of Daylight Saving Time, due to his partially tongue-in-cheek letter (read Franklin’s letter here). However, Franklin seemed to understand the point of view of the Old Indian in the joke above. Rather than changing the clocks, he simply advised us to change our schedules to better align with nature.
Since Daylight Saving Time was introduced, lawmakers have, on occasion, seen fit to fiddle with it. This happened in the 70s, during the oil crisis, and again several years ago. Since 2007, Daylight Saving Time got longer, beginning in March and ending in November, instead of April and October, respectively.
Remember, DST is a good time of year to change the batteries on your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors!
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