Daylight Saving Time 2020: When Does the Time Change?

When Does Daylight Saving Time Begin?

March 5, 2020

Daylight Saving Time starts on the 2nd Sunday in March—that’s Sunday, March 8, 2020! See details about the history of “saving daylight” and why we still observe DST today.

What Is Daylight Saving Time?

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is 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 make better use of natural daylight. However, DST has many detractors—and rightfully so.

When Is Daylight Saving Time in 2020? When Does the Time Change?

To remember which way to set their clocks, folks often use the expression, “Spring forward, fall back.”

  • Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday, March 8, 2020 at 2:00 A.M. On Saturday night, set your clocks forward one hour (i.e., losing one hour) to “spring ahead.”
  • Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 1, 2020, at 2:00 A.M. On Saturday night, set your clocks back one hour (i.e., gaining one hour) to “fall back.”

Note: Since the time changes at 2:00 A.M., we generally change our clocks before bed on Saturday.

Daylight Saving Time Dates

(In the U.S., the exceptions to DST are Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.)

Year Daylight Saving Time Begins Daylight Saving Time Ends
2020 Sunday, March 8 at 2:00 A.M. Sunday, November 1 at 2:00 A.M.
2021 Sunday, March 14 at 2:00 A.M. Sunday, November 7 at 2:00 A.M.
2022 Sunday, March 13 at 2:00 A.M. Sunday, November 6 at 2:00 A.M.
2023 Sunday, March 12 at 2:00 A.M. Sunday, November 5 at 2:00 A.M.

Is it Daylight “Saving” or “Savings” Time?

The correct term is “Daylight Saving Time“ and not “Daylight Savings Time” (with an extra “s”), though many of us are guilty of saying it the wrong way. The technical explanation is that the word “saving” is singular because it acts as part of an adjective rather than a verb.

The History of Daylight Saving Time

Why Did Daylight Saving Time Start? 

Blame Ben? Benjamin Franklin’s “An Economical Project,” written in 1784, is the earliest known proposal to “save” daylight. It was whimsical in tone, advocating laws to compel citizens to rise at the crack of dawn to save the expense of candlelight:

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… . Oblige a man to rise at four in the morning, and it is probable that he will go willingly to bed at eight in the evening.”

DST’s True Founder? 

The first true proponent of Daylight Saving Time was an Englishman named William Willet. A London builder, he conceived the idea while riding his horse early one morning in 1907. He noticed that the shutters of houses were tightly closed even though the Sun had risen. In “The Waste of Daylight,” the manifesto of his personal light-saving campaign, Willet wrote, “Everyone appreciates the long, light evenings. Everyone laments their shrinkage as the days grow shorter; and nearly everyone has given utterance to a regret that the nearly clear, bright light of an early morning during Spring and Summer months is so seldom seen or used… . That so many as 210 hours of daylight are, to all intents and purposes, wasted every year is a defect in our civilization. Let England recognise and remedy it.”

Willet spent a small fortune lobbying businessmen, members of Parliament, and the U.S. Congress to put clocks ahead 20 minutes on each of the four Sundays in April, and reverse the process on consecutive Sundays in September. But his proposal was met mostly with ridicule. One community opposed it on moral grounds, calling the practice the sin of “lying” about true time.

World War I Led to Adoption of DST

Attitudes changed after World War I broke out. The government and citizenry recognized the need to conserve coal used for heating homes. The Germans were the first to officially adopt the light-extending system in 1915, as a fuel-saving measure during World War I. This led to the introduction in 1916 of British Summer Time: From May 21 to October 1, clocks in Britain were put an hour ahead.

The United States followed in 1918, when Congress passed the Standard Time Act, which established the time zones. However, this was amidst great public opposition. A U.S. government Congressional Committee was formed to investigate the benefits of Daylight Saving Time. Many Americans viewed the practice as an absurd attempt to make late sleepers get up early. Others thought that it was unnatural to follow “clock time” instead of “Sun time.” A columnist in the Saturday Evening Post offered this alternative: “Why not ‘save summer’ by having June begin at the end of February?”

WWI-era Daylight Saving Postcard

The matter took on new meaning in April 1917, when President Woodrow Wilson declared war. Suddenly, energy conservation was of paramount importance, and several efforts were launched to enlist public support for changing the clocks. A group called the National Daylight Saving Convention distributed postcards showing Uncle Sam holding a garden hoe and rifle, turning back the hands of a huge pocket watch. Voters were asked to sign and mail to their congressman postcards that declared, “If I have more daylight, I can work longer for my country. We need every hour of light.” Manhattan’s borough president testified to Congress that the extra hour of light would be a boon to home gardening, and therefore increase the Allies’ food supply. Posters chided, “Uncle Sam, your enemies have been up and are at work in the extra hour of daylight—when will YOU wake up?”

With public opinion in its favor, Congress officially declared that all clocks would be moved ahead one hour at 2:00 A.M. on March 31, 1918. (Canada adopted a similar policy later the same year.) Americans were encouraged to turn off their lights and go to bed earlier than they normally did—at around 8:00 P.M.

Farmers Did NOT Favor DST

Many Americans wrongly point to farmers as the driving force behind Daylight Saving Time. In fact, farmers were its strongest opponents and, as a group, stubbornly resisted the change from the beginning.

When the war was over, the farmers and working-class people who had held their tongues began to speak out. They demanded an end to Daylight Saving Time, claiming that it benefited only office workers and the leisure class. The controversy put a spotlight on the growing gap between rural and urban dwellers. As a writer for the Literary Digest put it, “The farmer objects to doing his early chores in the dark merely so that his city brother, who is sound asleep at the time, may enjoy a daylight motor ride at eight in the evening.”

The Daylight Saving Time experiment lasted only until 1920, when the law was repealed due to opposition from dairy farmers (cows don’t pay attention to clocks). No fewer than 28 bills to repeal Daylight Saving Time had been introduced to Congress, and the law was removed from the books. American had tolerated Daylight Saving Time for about seven months.

Daylight Saving WWI-era poster

DST Returns 

The subject did not come up again until after the attack on Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941, and the United States was once again at war.

During World War II, Daylight Saving Time was imposed once again (this time year-round) to save fuel. Clocks were set one hour ahead to save energy.

After the war (which concluded with Japan’s final surrender on September 2, 1945), Daylight Saving Time started being used on and off in different states, beginning and ending on days of their choosing.

Local Differences and Inconsistency

Inconsistent adherence to time zones among the states created considerable confusion with interstate bus and train service. To remedy the situation, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act in 1966, establishing consistent use of Daylight Saving Time within the United States: Clocks were to be set ahead one hour on the last Sunday in April and one hour back on the last Sunday in October.

That was the rule, but some state legislatures took exception via a loophole that had been built into the law. Residents of Hawaii and most of Arizona did not change their clocks. Residents of Indiana, which straddles the Eastern and Central time zones, were sharply divided on Daylight Saving Time: Some counties employed it, some did not.

In 1986, the U.S. Congress approved a bill to increase the period of Daylight Saving Time, moving the start to the first Sunday in April. The goal was to conserve oil used for generating electricity—an estimated 300,000 barrels annually. (In 2005, the entire state of Indiana became the 48th state to observe Daylight Saving Time.)

Daylight Saving Time Today

The current daylight saving period was established with the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which went into effect in 2007.

Today, most Americans spring forward (turn clocks ahead and lose an hour) on the second Sunday in March (at 2:00 A.M.) and fall back (turn clocks back and gain an hour) on the first Sunday in November (at 2:00 A.M.). See how your sunrise and sunset times will change with our Sunrise/set Calculator.

However, farmers’ organizations continue to lobby Congress against the practice, preferring early daylight to tend to their fields and a Standard Time sunset for ending their work at a reasonable hour. Some farmers point out that the Daylight Saving Time is deceptively misnamed. “It is a gimmick that changes the relationship between ‘Sun’ time and ‘clock’ time but saves neither time nor daylight,” says Katherine Dutro, spokesperson for the Indiana Farm Bureau.

Most of Canada is on Daylight Saving Time; only portions of Saskatchewan and small pockets of British Columbia remain on Standard Time year-round. However, the practice has its detractors. In the words of a current-day Canadian poultry producer, “The chickens do not adapt to the changed clock until several weeks have gone by, so the first week of April and the last week of October are very frustrating for us.” Similarly, one Canadian researcher likened an increase in traffic accidents to the onset of Daylight Saving Time. Other experts insist that the extra hour of daylight reduces crime. 

As of March 2020, 39 states have proposed bills to end the practice of switching clocks. However, the legislation can only go into effect if the federal law changes. The Uniform Time Act would need to be amended to allow such a change. See the latest on which states have passed bills to put a stop to DST changes.

Share your thoughts about DST below—and see readers’ comments from the past. As you can see, our Almanac readers are quite passionate about this topic!

Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

Sounds like a great reason to

Sounds like a great reason to knock on some doors at your local school board, NOT make everyone else in the country fiddle with their clocks.

Anyone who needs to get up earlier or stay up later, is free to do so without hurting anyone else on the planet. Most of us won't even know about your silly wakeup routine and won't care. No one will think less of you.

As things stand now, however, those of us who can do basic math DO think less of anyone supporting this pointless scam.

Daylight Savings Time

DST is totally useless.What useful purpose does it serve? Absolutely none that I can think of.

Daylight Savings Time

Why can't we always stay on daylight savings time? That would give us more daylight year-round, not just in the summer. It is so dark and cold in the winter anyway, maybe an extra hour of daylight would help greatly. I highly support remaining on daylight savings time all year long.

Put it halfway in the middle

Put it halfway in the middle and leave it alone...forever.

DST vs Global warming

It's a fact the days are longer in the summer and shorter in the winter. However animals can't tell time so altering human movement to accommodate the notion that DST is necessary, has anyone taken into account of how it effects global warming? Maybe God does know what His creation needs better than humans. I propose simply shorten the work day by one hour and park the car. Hmmm!?

Daylight Savings Time

Well how turning the clocks back is saving energy is a lie...In the morning all the lights are on, at the end of the day all the lights are on and the heat....this depresses people coming home in the dark.Your children aren't playing outside... you donot feel like shopping going into the dark cold winter night. this isn't good for people who need light in their days. It actually slows down the economy...You sit in your house and eat more, get less exercise and shop less. Plus it depresses people....
Stop changing Mother Nature, we donot live inBenjamin Franklins ERA any more!!!!


Pull up your big girl panties & deal with it !!!


The days are so short when the time changes that I doubt there is any benefit in changing it. Perhaps a compromise is in order. Why don't we move the clocks back thirty minutes and then just leave them that way.

Daylite saving time

Add a survey then send the results to your Representative.

1, one final change to 12 months of DST or ST
2, 30 min. change, then no future changes (permanent)
3, leave the one hour DST and ST change system as is

I"ll start with one vote for #2

End daylight savings time!

So they care about kids getting candy more then kids going to school in the dark! STUPUD.


I wish they would just leave it alone. It messes with my sleep. Fall back and leave it that way!!

Whoever thinks that you gain

Whoever thinks that you gain more time one way or the other is just fooling themselves. Fall back, and then LEAVE IT THE HECK ALONE!!! If you want more time to do things outside, then plan accordingly. For me personally, I do not function well on DST. My body is completely out of sync until we revert back to standard time. I say get rid of it.

Pick one

I don't care if they use standard time or daylight savings time, just pick one! I have sleep issues and it doesn't matter if we spring forward or fall back, it still takes weeks for me to adjust. Studies have shown the increase in accidents and loss of work productivity from the time changes. It is time to stop the time changes.


I really don't see too much of the point in today's time. Instead of getting rid of it altogether, for those who like it, why not just change it by 30 minutes and leave it the heck alone? There are some states who don't do it anyway.

Hate the time change but prefer the summer hours...

I hate changing the time but I would never want to keep it at standard time. I would much prefer to have daylight hours later in the day so my kids can actually do things while I'm making dinner such as walk the dog, ride their bikes or any kind of outdoor activity.

I say we spring ahead and never fall back. ;)

Daylight Savings Time

I would like it very much if we simply left the clocks alone. People's work hours and days have changed so much since this idea took hold. It's silly now, a bit annoying to go out of sync with other places twice a year.

Get rid of it permanently!

I abhor the time change and see it as nothing more than a nuisance. It's not necessary in modern times, and it is a a huge headache. If anyone is like me, it takes weeks to readjust to the leap forward. We don't need it, just get rid of it.


I have thought for a long time a good comformise on DST or not is to set it half way between the two and leave it there permanently. Time is arbitrary anyway and it would make everyone a little more pleased than continuing to change it. In the summer we would still have 30 minutes extra daylight in the evenings compared to standard time. In winter it would be daylight only 30 minutes later than current standard time and would get dark 30 minutes later. It will never happen but if we think outside the box just a little this could work well.

I think that those of you

I think that those of you suggesting this compromise seem to miss the global picture. Phone calls, flight plans, business transactions and anything dealing with the world outside our borders, all needing to be offset by X hours plus ("Or is it minus? I can never remember!") a newly added 30 minutes.

There are already little countries, (most of them that I've noticed are sea-bound,) with time zones that are offset by partial hours due to alignment between standard zones. They're already used to it, however, and only set it up that way to avoid using two time zones in a small area. For a land mass the size of the United States, or any of its silly friends who do this, to be offset from the world by half an hour would be a bigger, more expensive hassle than the way things are now, with sorting time zones.

The box is bigger than most people reckon. Just kill DT. Kill it with fire. If you need to get up at a different time, you can change your alarm. You can be uncomfortable and distracted for days or weeks. You can take on the health risks for things you need to do during the day, rather than place those risks on millions of other people. The tail should not wag the dog.

I like where our clocks are

I like where our clocks are set at with Daylight Savings Time. How about we leave it right where it is and quit messing with it? We don't have to change it back. At least two states (and part of at least one other) do not change, at all, ever, and they do just fine.

I don't like having it get dark at 4:30 in the afternoon when it goes back to Standard time. I'd rather have the daylight toward the end of the day rather than the beginning.

Or, if you don't like that idea, here's another one; move the clocks 1/2 hour one time and call it "Adjusted Time" and then LEAVE IT ALONE, forever.

Cows still don't pay

Cows still don't pay attention to our clocks. Regardless of what time the clock says, the farmers have to adjust to the cows. Human bodies don't pay attention to our clocks, yet we "adjust" twice a year to a number on a clock. I used to live in Arizona and it was easy living because we weren't focused on what the clock read. In all the other states, all living things - babies, hospitals, pets have to adjust to sleep patterns twice a year. If the clocks don't change, the stress level would go down. I stand with letting nature alone. I don't like going against the natural order of Mother Nature.

daylight savings time

I have night blindness so I really appreciate daylight savings time. It allows me more time to do things I enjoy and still get home by dark.

I Despise DST

I despise DST. Any benefits were debatable 80 years ago, but certainly today in the modern world, there is no question, that there is NO benefit to DST, and many, many, many drawbacks. But if we must have DST, then it should be year round. Changing the clocks twice a year has been proven to lead to increased accidents, increased deaths, no energy savings, no benefit at all. Whatever time we pick, we should stay on that time permanently.

Sleep sleep sleep

When daylight savings time begins it takes me months to adjust and there are many many mornings that I am just "OFF". You wouldn't think one hour can make such a difference in a day but it truly does and it's very bothersome to me personally. Every day for at least two months I wake up tired and that is a horrible feeling....

Ummm....I really am

Ummm....I really am indifferent on the issue, but to those who complain about losing daylight have been mistooken...the sun shines the same amount of time weather you wake up at 5 or 6. So, utilize your time and just wake up earlier. Lazy fat kids has way less to do with dst and more to do with lazy parents.

Fall Back Nov. 1st. 2015

I really wish they would not put the clocks back. I leave to work in the dark and i enjoy the drive home in the daylight. When they set the clocks back on Nov.1st. I will be coming home in the dark...and i HATE it....please lets not set them back this year.:-) then we dont have to spring ahead in spring. Pleaseeeeee hear me.

Please! Keep it year round!!

Please! Keep it year round!!!!

Please! Keep it year round!!

Please! Keep it year round!!!!

Conversely, validating that,

Conversely, validating that, #TimeIsIRRELEVANT! Therefore, the system, merely, represents the homo-sapiens attempt to numerically chronicle passages of the cycle of the universe's milky way galaxy synchronized rotation as to allow for its own history. Therefore, neither, yea nor nay in response to, do I like Daylight Savings Time, doesn't matter, need to keep up with time just as my fellow homo-sapiens. #JustMyOpinion

There's a slight ERROR on

There's a slight ERROR on this page:

Daylight Saving Time 2015 ends on Sunday, November 1 at 2 A.M.

Before going to bed on Saturday, November 1, remember to "fall back" by setting your clocks back one hour