It’s that time of the year again: Spring is upon us and you inevitably find yourself Googling when is daylight saving time? (And, yes, fun fact: It’s “saving,” not “savings.” Run and tell that.) Well, it’s approaching quickly — this year, it’s on Sunday, March 8. While a couple states were smart enough to skip the annual event, the rest of the United States loses an hour of precious sleep — but why? Here’s what you need to know about daylight saving time, including when it starts.
When is daylight saving time?
On Sunday, March 8, a majority of Americans must set their traditional clocks one hour ahead as the time changes at 2 a.m., making it 3 a.m. Most modern electronic devices will update automatically but you may have to adjust your car, microwave, stove or analog clocks.
More than 70 countries observe daylight saving time, but not all on March 8. For example, Germany and Greece’s daylight saving time is March 29, New Zealand’s is on Sept. 27, and Australia’s is on Oct. 4. You can check out a full list of DST start dates worldwide on Time and Date’s website.
Why do we observe it?
Enacted by the federal government on March 19, 1918, daylight saving time was a way for the country to conserve coal during World War I. But following the war, Americans warmed up to the idea of losing an hour of sleep to take advantage of having an extra hour of daylight after work.
The way it works is simple: Jumping ahead one hour shifts the number of daylight hours we get into the evening, meaning a later sunset. It also allows Americans to “save” their daylight hours for the most productive time of the day.
Daylight saving time officially became a national standard in the 1960s.
Who doesn’t observe it?
Two states basically said “screw off!” regarding daylight saving time: Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Nation) and Hawaii. Wouldn’t that be great if that were the real reason they chose not to observe it, though?
The real reason why Arizona doesn’t observe daylight saving time is a little less exciting. In Arizona 50 years ago, the state legislature opted to keep the clocks in most of the state in standard time all year for good reason: It’s hot! In the summer, temperatures can reach a scorching high of 105, maybe even 110-degrees. So by not jumping ahead, residents can enjoy reasonably tolerable temperatures, particularly in the summertime, before hitting the sack. Plus, it means the sun rises a little later, giving residents a chance to actually walk their dogs before the ground is too hot for their paws.
When DST begins, Arizona will now be three hours behind New York (ET), two hours behind Chicago (CT), an hour behind Denver (MDT) and the same time as Los Angeles (PT).
As for Hawaii, the state doesn’t observe DST because the hour difference is barely noticeable between its winter and summer months. That’s all.
American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands also forgo daylight saving time.
Regarding the Navajo Nation, which spans three states, including Arizona, they do observe daylight saving time because it ensures reservation residents stay on the same schedule.
How should you prepare for it?
Losing an hour of sleep means you’re potentially messing with your sleep patterns, and it could last for about five to seven days, Mayo Clinic told USA Today.
So to prepare for it, Better Sleep Council suggests going to bed at least 15 minutes earlier than you usually do for the week leading up to March 8.
When does it end?
Mark your calendars: DST ends on Nov. 1.
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