3 surprising financial effects of Daylight Saving Time

3 surprising financial effects of Daylight Saving Time

On 31 March 2024, UK clocks will “spring forward” as we enter British Summertime (BST), or Daylight Saving Time (DST).

While exact dates and durations vary, the UK isn’t alone in losing or gaining an hour twice each year. Around 70 countries and 40% of the world’s population adjust their clocks in what was originally an energy-saving exercise.

Marked by longer evenings and heralding the end of winter, BST can be beneficial for our mental health. But there are some unseen financial consequences too.

Keep reading for your look at the history and the pros and cons of DST as UK clocks spring forward.

DST could date back to the 1700s but wasn’t widely adopted until the 1970s

Between 1776 and 1785 American Founding Father Benjamin Franklin lived in Passy, a rural district three miles outside of Paris. According to legend, it was during this time that he might have inadvertently invented DST.

Finding that he was wasting the beautiful Parisien morning light in bed, and using too many candles during the dark evenings, he suggested firing cannons at sunrise.

It took another 200 years for the idea of changing the clocks to arrive. Daylight savings began in Canada in 1908 but didn’t arrive in Europe until its adoption by Germany during the first world war.

To conserve fuel for the war effort, Germany and Austria adopted DST in 1916. The UK and France quickly followed suit. The end of hostilities, though, saw the end of DST too. Until a resurgence in the 1970s.

Again, the main issue was energy, with a global fuel crisis causing a peak in oil prices. While most of Europe had adopted the practice by the close of the decade, a formal EU directive didn’t arrive until 1996.

In 2019, the European parliament backtracked and voted to scrap mandatory daylight saving. Britain currently has no plans to abandon DST.

Changes to sleep patterns can lead to health issues so try to maintain your routines 

The European parliament's decision to no longer enforce DST is largely based on health concerns associated with losing and gaining daylight hours.

A study by the American College of Cardiology, for example, found that the Monday after springing forward shows an increase in heart attacks compared to other Mondays throughout the year.

It found that heart attacks increased by 25% (strokes increased by 8%). The Tuesday after the clocks fell back in autumn saw a 21% decrease in heart attacks compared to other Tuesdays.

Car accidents, too, see a slight rise when the clocks change.

One of the main issues for opponents of DST is the effect on our circadian rhythms. Darker winter nights are associated with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and depression while the American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests that 30-35% of adults experience short-term insomnia as a direct result of daylight saving.

It's important to stick to your usual sleep schedule as much as possible. Consider preparing for the lost hour by going to bed slightly earlier each night in the week before 31 March. Stick to your other healthy routines too, including morning fresh air and sunlight, exercise, and a balanced diet.

There could be some unexpected financial drawbacks so be aware and seek advice if you need to

1. Changes to energy usage 

Whether to save candles in Benjamin Franklin’s time or to conserve fuel during the first world war, energy usage has often been at the heart of daylight savings.

That should mean that longer hours of daylight during the hotter summer months cut your energy bills. This is especially true with the price cap due to fall in April.

And yet the evidence for a link between DST and reduced energy usage is largely inconclusive. Be sure to factor this into your summer budgeting.

2. Reduced workplace productivity

A change to our everyday routines can have a huge effect on sleep, with a knock-on for your productivity and workplace performance.

Tiredness, irritability, and difficulties in concentration can cost businesses during this time each year, either from lost work hours or revenue.

Consider mindfulness and meditation as a way to stay focused and aligned and take regular breaks if you need to.

3. Stock market volatility

Stock markets hate uncertainty. And while DST occurs twice each year (like clockwork), evidence suggests that the change to routines is enough to cause a spike in volatility.

You’re well aware that markets shift daily and that your long-term investments are designed to ride out these short-term dips.

If you see markets acting strangely on the Monday after the clocks go forward, don’t be alarmed. As always, our advice is to stay focused on your long-term goals.

Get in touch

If you’d like to discuss staying focused on your long-term goals despite the uncertainty of DST, please email us at or give us a call on 0141 221 5353.

Please note

The information contained in this blog was correct at time of writing and may be outdated at time of reading.

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