THE end of British Summer Time is fast approaching but at least there’s one major positive: an extra hour in bed!

When 2am arrives on Sunday, the clocks will roll back one hour to give you an extra 60 minutes with your head on your pillow.

If you always forget whether clocks go forwards or backwards, just remember the popular saying: ‘Spring forward, fall back.’

The return of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) means it will get darker in the evenings and lighter in the mornings.

But why do we do this? Well, time for a quick history lesson.

The idea of summer time or ‘Daylight Saving Time’ (DST) first originated in a article by Benjamin Franklin in 1784. He suggested that if people got up earlier in the day, when it was lighter, then it would save on candles.

However, DST was first seriously proposed in Britain in 1907 by horse-rider William Willett, the great-great-grandfather of Coldplay singer Chris Martin. He published his opinion on the matter in The Waste of Daylight. Willett was angry at the “waste” of useful daylight first thing in the morning during the summer months.

Willett died in 1915 and, less than a year later, Germany became the first to adopt DST in April 1916. Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Turkey, and Tasmania also immediately followed suit.

Three weeks later in the UK, an Act of Parliament (the Summer Time Act) decreed that, for a certain period during the year, the official time should be one hour in advance of GMT. The United States followed in 1918.

Between 1916 and the Second World War, the clocks were put forward by one hour in the UK in spring.

During the Second World War, British double summer time (two hours in advance of GMT) was temporarily introduced. Throughout the winter months, the clocks were kept one hour forward of GMT to increase productivity.

After the war ended, Britain returned to British summer time (BST) as it was prior to 1939.

In 1968, permanent BST was trialled but it was deemed unsuccessful and abandoned in 1971.

In 1998, the duration of BST was changed to bring it into line with the rest of the European community.

In 2010, campaigners attempted to return to British double summer time or a permanent BST in order to save energy and increase the time available for leisure in the evenings. Backbench MPs tried to change BST, but the The Daylight Saving Bill 2010-2012 failed in the House of Commons.

Over the years, the effectiveness of DST has been the topic of much debate. Supporters say it reduces traffic accidents in winter, saves energy, boosts tourism and encourages people to spend more time outdoors. Critics claim darker mornings are dangerous for children walking to school.

In 2011, a YouGov poll found 53 per cent of Brits supported keeping clocks forward permanently, while 32 per cent were against.

Most parts of North America and Europe, plus some areas in the Middle East observe DST. Paraguay and southern parts of Brazil observe DST but most countries in the north of South America near the equator do not.

If you’re already wondering when to spring forward, the clocks will change again on Sunday, March 31, 2019.