Don’t forget to Set your clock on Sunday


Are you ready for an extra hour of sleep? It’s time to fall back! Daylight Saving Time ends this Sunday, November 3 at 2am and much of the country will turn their clocks back one hour. And while we will enjoy longer sleep time there are some consequences that occur with the end of Daylight Saving Time. The change shifts daylight back into the morning hours for 9-to-5 office workers, so say goodbye to leaving work while it’s still light out.

Here are some frequently asked questions about how Daylight Saving Time came about.


Why do we need to “save” daylight hours in the summer?

Daylight saving time in the U.S. started as an energy conservation trick during World War I and became a national standard in the 1960s. The idea is that in the summer months, we shift the number of daylight hours we get into the evening. So, if the sun sets at 8pm instead of 7pm, we’d presumably spend less time with the lights on in our homes at night, saving electricity. It also means that you’re less likely to sleep through daylight hours in the morning, since those are shifted an hour later, too, hence “saving” daylight hours for the most productive time of the day.


Isn’t it “Daylight Savings Time” not “Daylight Saving Time”?

No, it’s definitely called “Daylight Saving Time.” Not plural. Be sure to point out this common mistake to friends and acquaintances. You’ll be really popular.


Does it actually lead to energy savings?

As Joseph Stromberg outlined in a 2015 Vox article, the actual electricity conservation from the time change is unclear or nonexistent. Despite the fact that Daylight Saving Time was introduced to save fuel, there isn’t strong evidence that the current system actually reduces energy use — or that making it year-round would do so, either. Studies that evaluate the energy impact of DST are mixed. It seems to reduce lighting use (and thus electricity consumption) slightly but may increase heating and AC use, as well as gas consumption. It’s probably fair to say that energy-wise, it’s a wash.


Why doesn’t Arizona or Hawaii change its clocks?

Arizona has a simple way to deal with Daylight Saving Time. Most of the state ignores it. Fifty years ago, the state legislature opted to keep the clocks in most of the state in standard time all year. One reason was that Arizona summers are very hot, and an earlier sunset gives residents more time to enjoy tolerable temperatures.

Hawaii also doesn’t observe Daylight Saving Time. The Island state is the farthest south of all states and rejected it because it doesn’t see a hugely noticeable daylight hour difference between winter and summer months. Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are the U.S. territories that do not observe Daylight Saving Time.


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