Daylight Saving Time Starts March 12, Congress Considers Making the Switch Permanently



The annual daylight saving time change will occur in the United States on Sunday, March 12. Most clocks will move ahead by an hour, resulting in Nashvillians seeing the sunrise at roughly 7:01 a.m. and sunset at almost 6:51 p.m. central standard time. While a bill introduced by to place Tennessee permanently on daylight saving time was overwhelmingly passed in the Tennessee Senate in 2019, no action was taken on a reform bill passed by the U.S. Senate last year, which sought to make daylight saving time permanent across the country. Some sleep experts suggest switching to standard time permanently, as changing the clocks disrupts sleep and circadian rhythms, and increases the risk of accidents and health problems.

Daylight saving time is about to take effect in the United States, with most clocks slated to move ahead an hour on Sunday, March 12th. This means that Nashvillians will see the sunrise at roughly 7:01 a.m. and the sunset at nearly 6:51 p.m. central standard time. Daylight saving time is the period between the second Sunday in March and the first Sunday in November, when clocks are set an hour ahead of standard time. Although most of the country observes this shift, Hawaii and most of Arizona, as well as some U.S. territories, including American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, do not participate.



Daylight saving time was signed into law on March 19th, 1918 by President Woodrow Wilson as part of the Standard Time Act. The act permitted additional daylight hours to be added to the day to help save energy costs during World War I. The U.S. Department of Defense’s website explains that Congress passed a law in February 1942 creating a national daylight saving time to help conserve fuel and promote national security and defense during World War II. When the war ended in 1945, the law was repealed, and individual states could establish their own standard time.

States may exempt themselves from observing daylight saving time by state law under the power of the Uniform Time Act of 1966. If a state chooses to observe daylight saving time, it must begin and end on federally mandated dates. The Uniform Act was initially established to save energy by pushing more daylight into the evening hours. The daylight saving time system was standardized to remain from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October. In 2005, the law was amended under President George W. Bush to extend daylight saving time from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.

Related: Daylight saving time is here. But why does it exist in the first place?

The country almost reset the daylight policy nearly a year ago when the U.S. Senate unanimously approved the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021, a bill that would make daylight saving time permanent across the United States. However, the bill was not approved in the U.S. House of Representatives. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, reintroduced the Sunshine Protection Act of 2023 in the 118th Congress on March 2nd, touting the practice of moving the clocks ahead and back as antiquated. The bill has bipartisan and popular support, and it has been argued that there are enormous health and economic benefits to making daylight saving time permanent. In Michigan, the state House approved a bill in 2021 that would have done away with twice-a-year clock changes in the state, but the policy change would depend on action from the U.S. Congress.

Some studies have questioned the energy savings move, citing it as disruptive to sleep and circadian rhythms as well as overall health and quality of life. Evidence collected by sleep experts at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine support a permanent switch to standard time over daylight saving time and say it is better for health and safety. Other studies argue the danger of oscillating time shifts and call for a permanent switch to standard time by associating the reset with an increase in traffic accidents and suicide.

When does daylight saving time end?

Clocks will reverse again to standard time on the first Sunday in November, which this year will be 2 a.m. Nov. 5.