The clocks go forward one hour at 02:00 on the night of Saturday-Sunday 31 March 2024; Credit: Pexels

Summer Daylight Saving Time will be introduced on the night of this Saturday to Sunday.

Officially, the clocks go forward one hour at 02:00 on the night of Saturday-Sunday 31 March 2024, resulting in the loss of an hour of sleep. Nevertheless, the following day, Easter Monday, is a holiday, which allows for two days to get used to the time change.

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the adjustment of clocks forward by one hour during warmer months to extend evening daylight and conserve energy. This practice is observed in many countries around the world, aiming to make better use of natural daylight during the longer days of spring and summer.

The concept of DST dates back to the early 20th century and was first implemented in various countries during World War I as a measure to save fuel and energy. Its initial implementation was a wartime measure, which was cancelled a year later. Daylight saving time was then reintroduced in several countries in the 1970s. Today, it continues to be used in various regions, with the transition occurring typically in the spring and then reverting to standard time in the fall.

Advocates of DST argue that it has various benefits, including energy conservation, increased outdoor leisure activities, and improved economic productivity due to extended daylight hours for businesses. Furthermore, they claim that DST can contribute to reduced traffic accidents and crime rates, as more daylight in the evenings may enhance visibility and safety.

However, DST also has its critics. Some studies suggest that the energy savings associated with DST are minimal or even negligible. Furthermore, the biannual clock changes can disrupt regular sleep patterns and negatively impact some individuals. There are also some concerns about the inconvenience and potential economic costs associated with adjusting clocks and schedules twice a year.

Despite the ongoing debate surrounding DST, many countries continue to observe this practice, albeit with occasional discussions about its effectiveness and potential alternatives. The European Commission proposed to end the twice-yearly clock changes in the European Union in 2018. However, until a final decision is taken, including a qualified majority of member states, the current system will remain in place.

EU member states are free to decide which time zone they want to be in. There are currently three standard time zones in the EU:

  • Western European Time: Ireland and Portugal;
  • Central European Time: seventeen member states in this geographical area, including Luxembourg;
  • Eastern European Time: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania (Moldova and Ukraine also currently observe DST).