When Do We Fall Back? Time Change Date for Autumn Season

Since the June solstice, the days have been getting shorter and the nights getting longer, and people will have to wait a few more months before getting an extra hour of sunshine.

As the daylight wanes, lovers of the light get a bit of respite when they turn their clocks back as part of daylight savings. An easy way to remember the two moments we change the clocks is that we "fall back" in autumn and "spring forward," in, well, almost spring, so it would be reasonable to assume that the first day of fall was one of those days.

However, the only change the first day of fall signifies is the start of a new season. Marked by the equinox, which occurs once in autumn and once in spring, Monday will have near equal parts of daylight and darkness.

So, when do we change the clocks back? Not until November, I'm afraid. Daylight savings time ends on the first Sunday in November. So, clocks should be turned back at 2:00 a.m. local time on November 3. This means that on the early morning of November 3, people will get an extra hour of sleep because at 2:00 a.m. local time, clocks will read 1:00 a.m.

Daylight Savings Time has been attributed to Benjamin Franklin, although, the Department of Defense noted that it didn't become the norm in the United States until a few hundred years later. In March 1918, Congress approved and then-President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the Standard Time Act. This act allowed for daylight hours to be added into the day to help save energy costs during World War I.

when do we fall back autumn
Grandfather clocks are pictured in a clock collection in central France on March 24, 2015. This year, the clocks will fall back an hour on the morning of November 3. GUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP/Getty

However, the law was only in effect for a brief period and it wasn't until World War II that the law was once again implemented to help conserve energy. It was later repealed again in 1945 when the war ended and individual states were able to establish their own standard time.

In 1966, though, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, which set a national standard time. It permanently established daylight saving time from Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October. However, the law changed again–numerous times–to change when the "fall back" and the "spring forward" occurs.

Today, we fall back on the first Sunday in November and spring forward on the second Sunday in March.

Not every state observes Daylight Savings Time, though, and Arizona and Hawaii passed state mandates allowing them to abstain from the observance.