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At the end of March, the clocks will change in Europe. Central European Summer Time (CEST), will then apply. Every year people ask themselves the same questions; When do the clocks change? Do the clocks go back or forward by one hour? But how much longer will the Daylight Saving Time be applicable?

As in every spring, the time will also change in 2024. With the time change to Central European Summer Time 2024, not only it will be light later in the morning again in Germany – but also darker later in the evening.

Time change: When do the clocks go to Central European Summer Time?

On the last Sunday in March, Winter Time comes to an end. In the night from 30 to 31 March 2024, the clocks are changed again from Central European Time to Daylight Saving Time.

When does the Winter Time end and the Summer Time starts in Central Europe?

The time change happens at 2 am on 31 October 2024. Then, Winter Time or normal time ends and Daylight Saving Time begins. In Europe, the Central European Summer Time (CEST) or Daylight saving time (DST) applies again instead of the normal Central European Time (CET).

Time change to Summer Time 2024: Go forward or back?

When changing to Summer Time, the clock is set forward one hour, i.e. from 2 am to 3 am. The time change is bad news for late risers, as the night becomes one hour shorter.


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Mnemonic: How can you remember the time change?

What is the best way to remember that? Our favorite mnemonic will help you decide whether to set the clock forward or back. Use a thermometer as a guide when changing the time:

  • In summer: plus temperatures: the clock is put forward one hour.Zeitumstellung Sommerzeit. Wie das Thermometer Plus
  • In winter: minus temperatures: the clock is put back one hour.Zeitumstellung Winterzeit. Wie das Thermometer Minus

Here are the three best mnemonics to help you remember the time change:

  • Think about the temperature: In spring plus in winter minus.
  • The 2-3-2 rule applies: first change in the spring, from 2 am to 3 am, later in autumn, from 3 am to 2 am.
  • In summer you put the garden furniture outside, in winter they go back in.
  • Spring forward, fall back.

If you have learned one of our favorite mnemonics for changing the time, you will remember how to set the clocks.

You don’t need to change the time on a radio-controlled clock

You don’t need to worry about changing the time with radio-controlled clocks or alarm clocks. The current time is received via radio signal (DCF-77), thus both Winter and Summer Time are displayed. TFA Dostmann has a wide range of clocks, alarm clocks and wireless weather stations which are equipped with a radio-controlled clock and are updated daily via radio signal. This way you always have the correct time in view and a manual change is no longer necessary.

Funk-Wecker digital

Therefore, you should choose clocks or alarm clocks with DCF-77 radio connection.

By choosing a product with a time signal, you can save yourself the trouble of setting the time and the correct time is readily available throughout the year, accurate to the second.

Why do radio-controlled clocks and alarm clocks sometimes not change?

Radio-controlled clocks and alarm clocks in Germany receive the exact time from the time signal transmitter DCF-77 near Frankfurt/Main. They do not constantly update the time signal for energy-saving reasons. Most have a fixed time, at which they synchronize themselves with the atomic clock.

If devices do not change, it is usually due to reception problems, which can be caused by radio interference or low battery power. It is also possible that the automatic nightly update was made too early. If this time is before the time change (e.g. 1 am), the radio-controlled clock or alarm clock does not yet notice the changeover and only changes over the next day (at 1 am).

Important to know: If an update was not successful during the night, the correction attempt will not follow until the following night.

With some radio-controlled devices, the synchronization can be triggered manually. Here a look into the operating instructions helps. Or you can restart by removing the battery(ies) and then reinserting them. On this occasion, it is a good idea to check the charge level of the batteries.

How do I prepare for the time change?

On Monday at the latest, we will feel the time change when the alarm goes off. Problems falling asleep and staying asleep, tiredness, dissatisfaction, and sometimes loss of appetite all come as a result.

These can last for days or even weeks because our body needs time to get used to the change. You can help your body adjust to the change with the following measures:

  1. Change your sleep pattern on Friday: If your daily routine allows it, go to bed earlier Friday night and start your Saturday earlier.
  2. Waking up with daylight: A method of waking up gently is to leave it to the sun to wake you up. The slowly brightening daylight will wake you up gently and naturally. Alternatively, you can use a light alarm clock, like our light alarm clock SOLUNA a light alarm clock with colour-changing mood light and room climate, which simulates sunrise.
  3. Don’t do a power nap at noon: Are you one of those people who recharge their batteries at midday with a short nap? A very healthy routine indeed! To help your body get used to the time change, you should not do your forty-winks in the first week of Summer Time. This means that you will go to earlier later in the evening because tiredness sets in much earlier.
  4. Dinner during the time change: We tend to feel completely exhausted on a full stomach, nevertheless, we cannot sleep well. Our organism is so busy with digestion that it has no opportunity to shut down and prepare for sleep. Therefore, especially in the days after the time change, it is important to eat a light meal in the evening and to avoid rich food altogether.

Change clocks: why is there a time change in 2024?

Changing the clock with the aim of saving energy has been the subject of many discussions since the middle of the 18th century. Some of the greats of our history such as Benjamin Franklin, the founding father of the United States, are regarded as the inventors of the Summer Time.

In Germany, the clock change has a changeable past. The first introduction of the Summer Time in 1916 was a war measure to save energy. After the First World War, Germany reversed the unpopular time change, only for it to be reintroduced during the Second World War in 1940. In 1949, both West and East Germany agreed to end the annual clock change.

The oil crisis in the 1970s prompted France to introduce the summertime. Other European countries followed suit, mainly in order to simplify cross-border traffic. It was not until 1980 that East and West Germany reintroduced the time change by decree. Since then, we have changed our clocks twice a year.

Does the change on Winter Time save energy?

Saving energy is the order of the day, especially due to the price explosion on the energy market. We use more energy throughout winter. Rooms need warming up and more electricity is used to light up the longer, darker hours of the day. It is said that switching from summer to winter time saves energy. In summer, the evenings are lighter for longer and therefore we save one hour of electricity by changing the time.

However, since Summer Time begins in spring, we need the heating on one hour earlier during the transition period, especially in March, April, and October. Research has shown that the energy-saving effect is minimal if any.

Will the time change be ever abolished?

As the time change date approaches, we discuss every year anew: “When will the time change be abolished? Will this year be the last time the clocks change from winter to summer?

In August 2018, all EU citizens took part in an online survey to vote whether they were for or against the abolition of the time change. The result of the survey showed that the majority of European citizens are in favor of a permanent Summer Time.

The results of the survey clearly showed a desire to abolish the time change. However, it is not yet clear at this stage when we will stop changing the clocks.

What happens if there is a permanent change over to Daylight Saving Time?

A permanent introduction of Summer Time, as requested by the EU survey, would have far-reaching consequences. Scientists warn that the “Cloxit” would result in a chronically tired and sleepy society. Due to the prolonged brightness in the evening, you don’t get tired in time, but you still have to get out of bed early in the morning.

In the event of a permanent Summer Time, the sunrise would be one hour later. Depending on where they live, children would have to go to school in the dark for up to six weeks long and would be much more at risk as pedestrians or cyclists in road traffic.

When will the time changeover be abandoned?

The consultation of EU citizens was followed by a decision of the European Parliament to abolish the conversion of clocks from 2021. However, this alone is not enough for implementation.

Many EU states have not yet expressed their opinion on the planned abolition of the time changeover. It can only go to the conversion with a majority agreement. After all, the issue is still on the agenda of the EU Commission. It remains exciting to see how things will develop.

Surely we will be asking ourselves two questions next October when the clocks are set to Winter Time again: “Will we set the clock forward or back? And: “When will the time changeover be abolished?”

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