Clocks go back in Cyprus and the UK this weekend – an extra hour in bed on Sunday!

It’s that time of year if you live in the United Kingdom, the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC), or South Cyprus when your clocks go back an hour for Daylight Saving Time (DST), which starts on Sunday, 29 October 2023. It also means an extra hour in bed!

Most digitally operated clocks should automatically go back an hour at 2am on Sunday morning.

Turkiye opted out of DST back in 2016, keeping the same time all year round. As a result, from Sunday the time difference between the UK and Turkiye will grow to three hours instead of the current two, while Turkiye will also be an hour ahead of Cyprus. This will remain in place until the clocks go forward on 31 March 2024.

Why Daylight Saving Time?

The purpose of DST is to ensure the day starts with more light. Dawn for northern territories, such as Scotland, arrives late in winter, so by going back an hour they can secure more light for their mornings.

The idea for DST came from a British builder called William Willet. In 1907, he published a pamphlet called “The Waste of Daylight”,  arguing that it was important to adjust the time during the year to make better use of valuable daylight hours in the winter.

Germany was the first country to adopt his proposals, followed by the UK a few months later by passing the Summer Time Act of 1916.

The practice quickly took hold and throughout the last century virtually all parts of the world bar Africa adopted DST. In recent years, DST’s popularity has started to wane though.

Many countries in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America have stopped using DST. The European Union is also considering ending the practice.

Europe also seemed to be heading that way in 2019 after EU member states passed a proposal in the European Parliament to end DST, but there has been little activity to progress this decision since then due to Brexit, Covid-19 and other pressing issues.

Yet the stats show the value of DST. Even though it means the darker evenings start earlier in the day, around 4pm in the height of winter, research shows it is safer to have more light in the mornings, resulting in with fewer road accidents.

Some people do get confused about which weekend to change the clocks (it’s always the last Sunday in March and October), and whether DST requires the time to go forward or back an hour.

The Americans have a good way of remembering based on their seasons: in the autumn, or fall as they call it, ‘clocks fall back’ an hour, while they ‘spring forward’ an hour in March.