A Guide to Daylight Savings in the UK
6 Min

A Guide to Daylight Savings in the UK

6 Min
Uploaded on
Sep 22, 2022
Last updated on
Mar 13, 2023
Uploaded on
Sep 22, 2022
Last updated on
Mar 13, 2023
Daylight Savings in the UK
Use your time-turner this summer!

We often dream of time travelling but let’s be honest, it's impossible. Or is it? What if we told you that you could leap forwards and backwards by an hour in a year twice? It doesn’t sound fancy, but at least we get the time-travel effect without struggling through physics (sorry, not sorry). This phenomenon is common in cold European towns that occur every year from Spring when you lose an hour of sleep, and by the end of the Daylight savings in the UK, you gain the lost hour back.

Why Do We Observe Daylight Savings?

Daylight savings, or DST, is a varied practice that is followed by nations at extreme latitudes where the clock is moved ahead during warmer weather to maximize daylight utilisation. The clock is set back during winters when daylight decreases in overall duration. The cycle of time changes differs in the Northern and Southern hemispheres due to the different onset of climates in the regions.
Many countries practice DST, while many do not. Moreover, it is not necessary that the cycle of DST is similar between countries. As a result, it is vital to know when, where and how daylight savings are implemented in your place of residence or where you are visiting.

What is the British Daylight Savings?

Designed to increase the maximum daylight utilization during summers in the Nothern hemisphere, daylight savings in the UK cycles from spring to autumn.  The clock is set ahead by an hour during March at 1 AM and reverted by an hour during October at 2 AM. There is obviously no effect on the overall length of the day. However, sunrise and sunrise times are delayed by an hour during summers due to the Earth’s orientation and the UK’s higher latitude location.

UK Daylight Savings in 2023

The UK daylight hours in 2023 will be implemented by moving the clock forward by an hour on 26 March 2023 and reverted by an hour on 29 October 2023

Pros and Cons of Daylight Savings in the UK

Pros and Cons of daylight savings

Pros of Daylight Savings in the UK

Longer evenings

Longer evenings encourage people to leave the house. Outdoor activities like baseball, golf, soccer, running, and other sports can be enjoyed during the extra hour of daylight. As a result, DST helps combat modern society's sedentary lifestyle.
The tourism sector benefits greatly from longer, lighter nights. The local economy is boosted by longer evenings, giving people more time to dine, shop, or other events.

Less Artificial light

Ensuring people are active during daylight hours helps reduce the demand for artificial lighting, which is one of DST's main goals. At latitudes in the middle, adjusting daily schedules to the summer's changing day lengths may aid energy conservation.

Populace Safety

Lighter evenings imply less cover of darkness for accidents and crimes to occur. According to studies, DST reduced pedestrian fatalities by 13% between dawn and dusk, greatly boosting road safety stats. Post springtime change to DST; robberies fell by around 7%.

Cons of Daylight Savings in the UK

Energy consumption

More daylight was beneficial when Daylight Savings in the UK were first implemented because it reduced the need for artificial lighting and increased energy savings. Whether the Sun is up or not, the modern world uses computers, TVs, and air conditioners, which require a lot of energy.

Health effects 

Of course, your sleep times and schedules would be thrown into disarray as we time travel. This has resulted in significant effects on the human body. The body's biological clock is thrown off track, affecting the circadian rhythm in odd cases. While this may cause higher fatigue in some people, it can affect adversely in some cases. Due to the aforementioned fatigue, a person is likelier to procrastinate and ‘cyberloaf’ instead of working. It’s alright, as work and procrastination are a match beyond our control.

The international Student and UK Daylight Hour Struggle

As an international student studying in one of the countries that practice daylight savings can be a hassle. Some of the issues you might face as an international student during daylight savings in the UK are. 

1. Adjusting to the UK time zone change: When you move away from your country, you are already adjusting to the time zone and the new lifestyle. Despite all this, facing something like daylight savings in the UK can make the living abroad process even more difficult as the change is consistent. 

2. Distance learning: If you're an international student who lives in your native country but is pursuing your degree from a different location, it's already difficult to coordinate your schedule with your lectures because of daylight savings in the UK. Your sleep schedule will be hampered, which will harm your mental health.

3. Difficulty communicating: Living abroad means leaving your family behind. The time difference makes it difficult to speak, but when your country has DST and your family is on their regular clock, adjusting to your new schedule can take a while. 

Where did the UK Daylight Hours come from?

The idea for Daylight savings was propped up in 1784 by Benjamin Franklin. However, it was by 1907 that William Willett put forward the first serious proposal for daylight savings in the UK through the use of a self-published pamphlet entitled “the Waste of Daylight”. It took more years for the UK to finally adapt the DST system during world war 1. 
Daylight savings in the UK have undergone multiple changes, even where it was synced with the European Union at one point.

Tips to Cope with Daylight Savings in the UK

Everybody experiences the time shift differently. While some people acclimatize quickly, others need more time. We recommend the following suggestions for adjusting to the time change in UK for your health and safety:

  • Prepare ahead of time by a few days. We advise going to bed 15 to 30 minutes earlier than your usual bedtime, about a week before "time-travelling". Your body requires extra time to make up for the lost hour.
  • Maintain a strict and disciplined routine. During the changeover to Daylight Savings in the UK, maintain a regular schedule for eating, socializing, going to bed, and exercising. You need to adjust by exposing yourself to the bright light in the morning.
  • Avoid taking extended periods of sleep. It's rather tempting to close your eyes during the day, especially when you're tired. However, staying away from naps is essential for adjusting to the time change because prolonged daytime naps may make it more difficult for you to get a whole night's sleep. 
  • Avoid coffee and other caffeinated drinks for four to six hours before bed. Avoid alcohol in the late hours of the night since it prevents you from getting good sleep.

Fun Anecdote from UK Clock Changes

Of course, a concept such as DST, which involves the entire UK clocks changing, will result in confusion and funny episodes. A personal favorite of ours is the “clock casualty” episode.

"When the clocks first changed in 1916, there were concerns that delicate striking clocks could be damaged by people trying to force the hands back an hour. Official warnings and guidelines were printed in newspapers and magazines to reduce the number of clock ‘casualties’”

In the end, daylight savings in the UK can be summarized as turning the clock behind for an hour during winter and then returning to normal when the summers return. You may find it a little confusing at first but trust us! You’ll get used to it in no time. Until then, ensure you keep track of your health and be aware of the healthcare benefits of a student in the UK.

Frequently Asked Questions