When do the clocks go back – and why do they change twice a year?

Each year, people are subject to the same debate – do we get to sleep more or sleep less when turning our clocks around twice a year?

A more important question might be – why do we change the time both in the summer and in the winter?

Our planet has functioned with a daylight saving time, better known as “summer time” and a “winter time”, for several decades, which is when our clocks return to standard time.

This change of times was an idea that was first suggested by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, and was later proposed to the British Parliament by William Willett in 1907.



People will technically be able to enjoy an extra hour in bed

Daylight saving time is most helpful to those who live farther from the equator, as it affects countries where daylight hours are much longer in the summer than in the winter.

On the contrary, in places that are closer to the equator, daylight hours and nighttime hours are nearly the same in length throughout the year.

As a result, certain locations such as Hawaii, do not partake in the daylight saving time system.



Union Jack flag flutters in front of the Elizabeth Tower, commonly known as Big Ben
Time change occur on a Saturday night and Sunday morning in order to avoid any disruption to schools and businesses

Following William Willet’s proposition in the 20th century, countries started to change their clocks forward and back, arguing in favour of changing the clocks during the summer months to avoid wasting time in the morning.

The change of time has been kept as nowadays, people argue that changing clocks is not only beneficial to the energy consumption for environmental reasons, but it also allows for longer evenings, supporting leisure and tourism.



Clock at four o'clock underwater
Places closer to the equator do not partake in the daylight saving time system

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It also encourages people to exercise more outdoors and reduces road accidents.

Currently at least 70 countries participate in the summer time change, however, they may not participate at the same time.

For example, European countries and the United States do not change their clocks back at the same time.

Additionally, in Europe, daylight saving time runs from the last Sunday in March through the last Sunday in October.

When do the clocks go back in 2021?

This year the clocks will go back in autumn 2021 on October 31 at 2am.

This pattern of change was chosen to occur on a Saturday night and Sunday morning in order to avoid any disruption to schools and businesses.

This clock change will not only mark the end of British Summer Time (BST), but as the clocks will fall back by one hour, this will also technically mean that people will enjoy an extra hour in bed.

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