When do the clocks go forward tonight, and why?

Don't forget to wind your clocks forward tonight
Don't forget to wind your clocks forward tonight
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The clocks are due to go forward tonight as the UK switches to British Summer Time.

The clocks will go forward by an hour at 1am tomorrow morning, so while most electronic devices now update automatically don't forget to change any manual clocks or watches you may have.

Although some people might grumble about losing an hour from their weekend, many see it as a price worth paying so they can enjoy more natural light in the evenings.

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Supporters of Daylight Saving Time, as it is known around the globe, claim that it saves energy, reduces road traffic accidents and boosts people's health by providing more time for post-work leisure activities.

But detractors say that it harms health by disturbing sleep patterns, with evidence suggesting heart attacks rise in the weeks following the shift; it is bad for farming, and any energy saving benefits are unproven.

Daylight Saving Time was introduced during the First World War to save energy and resources, and it proved popular enough to be retained once peace returned.

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The practice had first been proposed in 1895 by British-born New Zealander George Vernon Hudson, an amateur entomologist, who longed for more daylight in the evening in which to study insects after work.

Another early advocate was the British builder William Willett, a keen golfer who thought it would give him more time on the fairways in the evenings. Although his 1907 pamphlet on the subject was debated in parliament the idea was ultimately rejected by MPs at the time.

In the UK, clocks always go forward an hour at 1am on the last Sunday in March, and back one hour at 2am on the last Sunday in October.