Daylight Saving Time: Clocks ‘Fall Back’ Sunday

November 4, 2023

Every morning, as soon as the Sun rises, let all the bells in every church be set ringing; and if that is not sufficient? Let cannon be fired in every street, to wake the sluggards effectually …

United States Founding Father Benjamin Franklin in “An Economical Project”; his essay contains the earliest known suggestion (though satirical) for saving daylight. Early Sunday morning (2:00 AM), clocks across the U.S. will “fall back,” as Daylight Saving Time ends and Standard Time begins.

Daylight Saving Time = “… the practice of moving the clocks forward one hour from Standard Time during the summer months and changing them back again in the fall. The general idea is that this allows us all to use natural daylight better: moving the clocks forward one hour in the spring grants us more daylight during summer evenings, while moving clocks back one hour in the fall grants us more daylight during winter mornings.” (The Old Farmer’s Almanac).

Big Picture: Daylight Saving Time first took effect in the U.S. during World War I to conserve energy during war time. Congress later repealed the practice, though it took affect again during WWII, after which different states followed different daylight-saving policies (leading to confusion in transportation, broadcasting, etc.). Congress later approved the Uniform Time Act in 1966, standardizing when Americans across the country change the clocks. Today, most of the U.S. observes DST; however, the practice of ‘springing forward’ and ‘falling back’ has many critics due to documented negative impacts, such as disruption of natural sleep patterns and increased car accidents. Spokeswoman for AAA’s Auto Club Group, Molly Hart, said, “With daylight savings coming to an end, what people really need to be focused on is … [they’re] driving now in the afternoon when it’s darker earlier.”

Did You Know? The Old Farmer’s Almanac explains, “farmers’ organizations continue to lobby Congress against the practice [of DST], preferring early daylight to tend to their fields and a Standard Time sunset for ending their work at a reasonable hour.” Meanwhile, lawmakers’ efforts to make DST permanent have stalled in Congress. A March 2023 YouGov survey suggests that while 62% of Americans would prefer to stop changing the clocks, only 50% would prefer permanent DST.

Read More:

A 2005 law extended DST; learn more here.

Daylight Saving Time 2023: When Does the Time Change? (The Old Farmer’s Almanac)

Changing Clocks for the Last Time? Latest News on Daylight Saving (The Old Farmer’s Almanac)

Daylight Saving Time is coming. This is how the time change impacts you, according to a sleep expert (The Associated Press)
Daylight Saving Time | State Legislation (National Conference of State Legislators)

by Leah Grainery, based in Texas