The good news: Everyone will gain an hour of sleep Saturday night. The bad news: It’s about to start getting dark really early.
Daylight Savings Time ends Saturday. If you want to get technical, DST officially ends at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 7. That means everyone will set their clocks back one hour before going to bed Saturday night — smart clocks, such as those on cell phones and other connected devices, will update automatically overnight — as most of the United States transitions to standard time for the winter months.
Each year, Daylight Savings Time begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November. It has been that way since 2007, and it is observed that way in most of the U.S. There are some exceptions. Arizona and Hawaii do not observe Daylight Savings Time. Several U.S. territories also do not observe DST.
Daylight Savings Time is designed to save energy. The time change was first implemented during World War I, and then re-implemented during World War II, at which point it became permanent.
DST takes advantage of the extra daylight during the evening hours in the summer, while rolling back to prevent sunrise from coming too late in the winter. Although there is a push by some to eliminate DST, and others to make it permanent, that doesn’t appear likely to happen anytime soon.
Tennessee is one of the states that have pushed for permanent Daylight Savings Time. However, because time changes are matters of interstate commerce, the federal government has to approve Tennessee’s time change law before it can take affect. That can only happen if Congress amends the Uniform Time Change Act of 1966 to exempt states like Tennessee and Florida, which has also passed a state bill to make DST permanent.
The biggest gripe for most people is that the twice-annual clock changes require humans to adjust to the new times. And the biggest gripe for proponents of permanent DST is just how early it gets dark once the time changes in the fall.
On Sunday, Nov. 7, for example, the sun will set at 6:02 p.m. in Oneida. By early December, the sun will be setting at 5:23 p.m. That means it’s pitch-black dark by 6 p.m., when many people are just getting home from work.
But the flip side is just how late it would get light in the mornings if DST were permanent. Even with the time change, the sun won’t rise until 7:06 a.m. in Oneida on Sunday, Nov. 7. If we did not fall back to standard time, the sun wouldn’t rise until after 8:30 a.m. by early December — which means it would be pitch-black dark until after 8 a.m., well after kids have arrived at school and most people have headed to work.
Check your batteries
The TN Fire Marshal’s office recommends that everyone check and change the batteries in their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms when the time changes.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, almost three of every five deaths in residential fires — there were more than 2,400 of them in 2016 — occur in homes with no working smoke alarms. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention estimate that more than 400 people die in the U.S. each year from carbon monoxide poisoning.
While experts recommend checking your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms monthly, most Americans forget to conduct those simple checks. So, it’s recommended that residents check and change their batteries when the time changes. Additionally, the CPSC recommends replacing your smoke alarms if they are more than 10 years old.