Stacey Leasca
Updated November 01, 2018

Daylight saving time is nearly here once again. Though the clocks only change twice a year, the practice is always a bit confusing for people. And, it’s an especially painful conundrum for travelers. Fear not, we’ve got all your fall daylight saving time answers, like when exactly does the time change and what do to do if you’re flying on Sunday, here.

What is daylight saving time and why do we ‘fall back?’

Here’s a fun fact: It really is daylight saving time, not daylight saving(s) time (so please save your tweets to me). Now, onto the good stuff.

Daylight saving employs two methods “spring forward” and “fall back.” This, Sleep.org explained, is the “practice of changing standard time with the intention of ‘saving’ (as in, making better use of) natural light.” This means we save more light in the spring when we move our clocks forward by one hour. In the autumn we “fall back” to our regular time.

When and how did daylight saving time start?

Daylight saving time became federal law way back in 1918, making this year its 100th anniversary. At the time, it was used as a wartime conservation effort. According to History.com, this move was wildly unpopular with farmers. “The sun, not the clock, dictated farmers’ schedules, so daylight saving was very disruptive,” History.com wrote. “Farmers had to wait an extra hour for dew to evaporate to harvest hay, hired hands worked less since they still left at the same time for dinner and cows weren’t ready to be milked an hour earlier to meet shipping schedules.”

In 1919, farmers led the fight to end national daylight saving time. They did indeed win, however, national daylight saving returned during World War II. In 1966, the U.S. government passed the Uniform Time Act, which finally standardized daylight saving time for everyone.

When do we turn the clocks back in 2018?

This fall you will turn back your clocks on Sunday, Nov. 4. at 2 a.m. local time.

Do we gain an hour or lose an hour of sleep?

Though you may think falling back an hour means you’ll gain an extra hour of sleep, the opposite may be true. According to Harvard Health Publishing, only a small fraction of people actually get that extra hour of sleep. “During the following week, many people wake up earlier, have more trouble falling asleep, and are more likely to wake up during the night. People who tend to be so-called short sleepers, logging under 7.5 hours a night, and early risers (also known as larks), have the most trouble adjusting to the new schedule,” according to Harvard Health.

Which states don’t observe daylight saving time?

Currently, Hawaii, Arizona, Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands, Americana Samoa and the Northern Marianas Islands do not observe daylight saving time. Why? Because they simply do not have to as the federal government doesn’t technically mandate that states observe the time change. California has a measure on this year’s ballot to do away with daylight saving for good. Florida voted to end daylight saving, but the bill is currently on hold.

What if you have a flight on Sunday?

You should be OK if you’re traveling domestically from state-to-state this Sunday. Just make sure to double check your clocks before you head to bed (and maybe set a second alarm) so you don’t miss your flight. But, if you’re traveling to, from, or through one of the states that does not observe — like Arizona — double check the local time to ensure you have enough time for a layover. Here’s everything you need to know about traveling across the globe during daylight saving.

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