Unless you happen to be that one person in the office who knows exactly when each holiday, seasonal change, and birthday occurs, it’s likely that you’ll need a refresher on daylight saving time (DST), so here it is:
In the US, daylight saving time ends this Sunday, March 11, at 2 am, at which point you will set your clocks an hour later.
This is the unhappy half of DST, when the archaic absurdity of the ritual is highlighted by losing a precious hour of sleep. But daylight saving time can also lead to some confusion for those communicating internationally. Only about half of the world’s countries gain an hour in the autumn and lose it in the spring—most notably excluding China, Japan, and India.
The US (excluding Arizona and Hawaii), Canada (excluding Saskatchewan), Mexico, Europe (excluding Belarus and Iceland), and some regions of South America, Africa, and Australia observe DST.
Though several nations in Asia once observed DST—Japan adopted the custom for a few short years following World War II, and China implemented it from 1986 to 1992—most of the continent no longer moves their clocks forward and back. Similarly, the majority of African nations do not observe DST. Except during brief periods of conflict in the mid-20th century, India has never followed DST.
And while the US is just about to change its clocks forward, nations including the UK aren’t making the change until later in March. Several nations—the US, Brazil, Canada, and Australia among them—only follow DST in certain states and provinces, further complicating a system that despite its name, may not save you much daylight at all.
If in doubt about the time difference with another country, there are plenty of handy international time websites to consult, like this one.
In any case, if you happen to live in a region that does observe DST, we’re sorry you’ll be losing the hour of sleep this Sunday. Hopefully it will all be worth it come autumn.