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British Summer Time start: Do the clocks go forward or back?


Spring is well and truly in full force as Brits across the country have already seen significantly warmer weather and lighter days over the past week. March 20 marked the “Spring Equinox”, the start of spring, which sees the northern hemisphere tilt further towards the sun, answering for the extra hours of sunshine we see around this time of year.

With spring comes a new time zone, British Summer Time (BST), but this always takes place a week after the Spring Equinox, falling on the last Sunday of the month.

When autumn comes back around in September, the UK time zone will switch back to Greenwich meantime (GMT), bringing with it shorter hours of daylight and colder temperatures, as the southern hemisphere transitions to the more prominent area to catch the sun’s rays instead.

When does British Summer Time start?

British Summer Time (BST) will begin on Sunday, March 27 at 1am.

At this time, your clocks will move forward an hour, meaning you’ll lose an hour of sleep.

Most smartphones and watches will automatically adapt, but you might have to manually move other clocks forward to 2am at this time.

Other countries who carry out this ritual refer to it as Daylight Saving Time (DST).

READ MORE: Gardening jobs to do in April from mowing to planting

Why is it called British Summer Time if it starts in Spring?

The BST time zone shift came into fruition following 1916’s Summer Time Act to advance clocks forward by one hour.

The Act was launched in May during World War One, as it was thought that the extra hour of daylight would help preserve the army’s energy resources.

The term Summer Time proved popular amongst the masses, and the name British Summer Time stuck.

When will British Summer Time end?

BST will last the length of spring, summer, and part of autumn, by which it’ll end on October 30.

How to wake up feeling fresh when the clocks change

Certified Sleep Coach Nicky Blakeman at Yumi Nutrition provides some top tips for anyone worried about feeling extra tired after losing an hour of sleep.

First, she advises scrapping the Sunday lie-in. Ms Blakeman said: “Instead, try focusing on getting up an hour earlier than you usually would. This will be a lot easier if you gradually set your alarm 15 minutes earlier each day for a few days prior to the clock change on Sunday night.

“This means that by the time Monday morning comes around, you will be used to getting up a bit earlier each day and it will be a lot easier to adjust.

Secondly, try to get sunlight exposure as soon as you can on Monday morning.

Ms Blakeman said: “Sunlight signals to your brain that it’s time to wake up and sets your body clock for the day which helps to prevent some of that morning grogginess.

“Light suppresses melatonin secretion, which wakes the body up and helps your brain adjust to the earlier start time. Try to avoid lying in bed and drifting in and out of sleep after you wake up.”

Finally, make sure to keep a regular bedtime after the clocks change. Ms Blakeman advised: “Do your best to make sure you’re going to bed and getting up at the same time each day next week so your body can get into a good routine.

“This will help to ensure your brain knows the right time to release the hormones melatonin and cortisol to help you sleep at night and then feel alert in the morning.”

When did standardised time zones in the UK begin?

Britain only adopted a legal, standardised time across the board in 1880.

Prior to this, the nation calculated the time locally – working out approximately what time noon was then working from that.

However, the introduction of railways and their respective timetables made the localised time zones confusing, which led to the agreement that a synchronised time was required.



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