You might be wondering how to know whether you're in daylight savings time and what it means when it ends. First, a quick recap of daylight saving time.
Daylight saving time spans the summer
In your summer time, you're in daylight saving time. Of course, this assumes you live in an area that has daylight savings time - not all states or countries do. Daylight savings time was originally intended as an energy savings measure when it started last century, but in modern times it doesn't really save energy, it just changes when energy is used.
In daylight savings time, you're one hour ahead of standard time - don't worry if that is confusing, the main point here is that you need to associate daylight savings time with summer.
Standard time is the default, and spans the winter
When you're not on daylight savings time, you're on standard time. If you're confused about daylight savings time versus standard time, it helps to think of standard time as the default, and daylight savings time as a temporary measure over the summer.
In reality, daylight savings time spans at least 6 months of the year in countries which use it, so you might actually be on daylight savings time for more than half a year. But makes it easier to wrap your head around it if you think of daylight saving time as a temporary change. In part, this is because standard time is best for most people's circadian rhythms (see reference 1) so this is why it helps to think of standard time as the default.
What does it mean when daylight savings time ends?
At the end of daylight savings it means that in the fall, or autumn, at the correct date for your area you would put your clocks back 1 hour. Wi-Fi connected clocks automatically adjust, but microwave clocks, stove top clocks and so on need to be changed manually.
This means that at the end of daylight savings time, it feels to you like the sun rises earlier and sets earlier. What this really means is that the sun rises and sets at its normal time, but when you put your clocks back in the fall, it will feel to you like the sun rises and sets earlier. Having the sun rise at an earlier time is better for most people's mental and physical health (reference 1), particularly in the winter when there aren't many hours of sun.
Generally, you should find it fairly easy to adjust to daylight savings time ending in autumn. It's typically easier than going the other way in the spring when daylight savings time starts.
You get an extra hour of sleep on the night that daylight savings time ends. This isn't quite as great as it sounds because that hour will later get taken away in the spring on the night daylight savings starts again. If changes to your mornings are not your thing, you might like these morning routine tips for before work or school.
Here is a recap of what it means when daylight savings ends
- It happens in the fall (autumn)
- You turn clocks back 1 hour on the correct date - this puts you into Standard Time
- You get an extra hour of sleep on that 1 night that you put your clocks back
- After this, it will feel to you like the sun rises earlier and sets earlier. It gets light sooner, but it also gets dark sooner
- For most people, it's easier to make this switch to standard time (as opposed to the other way around in the spring)
Are we in daylight savings time?
Here are official sources for the dates of daylight savings beginning and end for various major countries.
Dates of time changes for major countries
- United Kingdom
- USA - not all states and cities are required to switch to daylight savings time, but if they do, they must change at the same specified date. Officially, the Department of Transportation is in charge of setting daylight savings rules, but the National Institute of Standards and Technology has a better daylight savings time page that tells you when the change will be. You can also find out more about the current time in various different US time zones at time.gov.
- New Zealand
- Australia - as in the US, not all states and territories are required to make the switch to daylight savings time. What's different is that in Australia, it's further complicated by the fact that different states and territories may choose to start and finish daylight savings on different dates.
- Rishi, M. A., Ahmed, O., Perez, J. H. B., Berneking, M., Dombrowsky, J., Flynn‐Evans, E. E., Santiago, V., Sullivan, S., Upender, R., Yuen, K., Abbasi-Feinberg, F., Aurora, R. N., Carden, K. A., Kirsch, D. B., Kristo, D. A., Malhotra, R. K., Martin, J. L., Olson, E. J., Ramar, K., . . . Gurubhagavatula, I. (2020). Daylight saving time: an American Academy of Sleep Medicine position statement. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 16(10), 1781–1784. https://doi.org/10.5664/jcsm.8780