Last Sunday of March turns to Summertime

Grote markt
26/03/2019

Last Sunday of March turns to Summertime

This year the Daylight saving time [DST] falls on 31 March at 02.00, when you should turn your clock to 03.00.

What is Daylight savings time about?

The practice of summertime has been around for several decades now, and is supposed to allow us to make better use of daylight hours in the summer months. This creates opportunities for leisure activities or work as it stays bright longer before dusk.

It is believed that originally it was Germany and Austria-Hungary that were the first ones to introduce the concept of DST in order to manage the energy resources better during the WW1, and most of Europe followed by the time of 1970s. Ironically, however, LiveScience points that the research on the benefit of energy savings is “decidedly mixed” on this topic. The practice may have quite an opposite effect, since due to longer daylight, people tend to stay out longer and in turn consume more fuel and electricity.

The trouble with DST

Initially, the DST started on different days throughout the EU, however, according to the European Parliament, having different beginning and end dates created problems, especially for the transport sector. This is why governments decided at the EU level that summer time should begin on the last Sunday in March and end on the last Sunday in October. Nonetheless, as stated by the European Commission, Daylight Saving Time  is increasingly questioned by citizens, by the European Parliament, and by a growing number of Member States. The Commission has, therefore, analysed available evidence, which points to the importance of having harmonised rules in this area to ensure a proper functioning of the internal market. Although many countries might have adopted summer time, but there are also many that haven't, such as Russia, China and Japan.

In addition to uncertainty of economic benefits, scientists are questioning the effect DST brings to individuals’ health. Increase in heart conditions, traffic accidents and other disturbances in memory-and-coordination related activities’ are often cited in articles analysing DST and human health. The increased daylight exposure that follows DST results in body secreting less melatonin, which consecutively shifts the natural internal clock cycle (circadian rhythm). Luckily, according to Journal of Physiology, properly timed light exposure during waking hours is the main deciding factor in adjusting the body’s biological clock, thus going to bed earlier on the night the clocks will be turned will give you just that extra bit of sleep!