Clock watchers: time goes back to the future tonight

Seasonal time change goes into effect in the early hours of Sunday morning.

File picture showing various watches / Credit: iStock

Don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour!

Winter time is upon us and clocks go back by one hour at 04:00 in the early hours of Sunday morning.

It will mean lighter mornings for a while, but you’ll definitely notice the darkness coming earlier in the evening as we head towards the darkest part of the year – and weeks of Polar night for some parts of the country beginning in December!

Most modern electronic devices should re-set the time automatically, like mobile phones, computers and tablets. But unless your kitchen appliances are connected to the internet, something like a microwave will have to be re-set manually.

Possible time changes ahead for Finland

This could be one of the last times Finland changes its clock from summer time to winter time.

The European Commission is giving EU countries a chance to decide what their standard time should be, and a recent online survey in Finland found that more people are in favour of keeping winter time all year round.

Finland can decide if it wants to stay in the same time zone, or switch to Swedish time for example; or keep summer or winter as the standard time the whole year round.

According to existing statute in Finland, summer time begins on the last Sunday of March at 03:00 as the time springs forward one hour; and summer time ends on the last Sunday of October at 04:00 when the clocks wind back one hour.

That means summer time lasts for seven months of the year, and winter time goes on for five months.

Impact of time shift?

Any possible time switch might have a positive impact for health, according to a Finnish government study.

While businesses will be affected if Finland’s time stays the same as Sweden for example.

If seasonal time changes end, the choice of the permanent standard time will affect the number of daylight hours in the evening and morning.

If summer time was to be adopted as the permanent standard time, evenings would, on average, be somewhat lighter and mornings darker; and if the choice for the permanent standard time would be winter-time, mornings would, on average, be somewhat lighter and evenings darker.

So, what happens next?

After – as you might imagine – a lot of red tape within the halls of power in Brussels, each EU country can decide which time zone it will adopt.

In Finland, the directive will be discussed in parliament, where the official position will be formed, using the latest online survey results as a guide to public opinion.

If Finland decides to change its time zone or end daylight savings time shifts in the summer, it will be ultimately decided by parliament.