Experts warn of permanent summertime – “especially hard” for schoolchildren and students

experts warn of permanent summertime - 'especially hard' for schoolchildren and students

When summertime begins on sunday, many people are happy about the "longer" days days. The price for the extra daylight in the evening hours must be paid in the morning in the same coin – it will be light later. Since 1996 the clocks in the european union are changed in march and october. Germany has had daylight saving time since 1980.

The original idea was to save energy thanks to better use of daylight. The EU parliament is planning to abolish the time changeover in 2021: this was the position agreed by the deputies in strobburg on tuesday. For the actual abolition, however, a compromise still had to be reached with the member states. Arguments for or against the time change there are many. Which are true?

CONTAINMENT: summer time helps to save energy.

ASSESSMENT: largely wrong

FACTS: there is no evidence that energy has been saved in any relevant mab. The federal environment agency, for example, argues: "although the time change in summer actually means that the lights are switched on less often in the evening – in spring and autumn, however, there is also more heating in the morning hours. This cancels each other out."

The buro fur technikfolgen-abschatzung beim deutschen bundestag (office for technology impact assessment at the german parliament) concludes that "at best, only very small energy savings can be realized". In 2016, an evaluation of studies from various countries showed possible changes of no more than one percent in the areas of electricity consumption and room temperature. A survey of around 700 companies and associations in the german energy industry did not yield any other result either.

Economists korbinian von blanckenburg and julian strauch have calculated, based on an analysis of data from two network operators in kassel and kempten, that the current time changeover system only leads to a saving of 0.78 percent in the electricity consumption of private households.

CONTAINMENT: the previous back and forth is detrimental to health, because our internal clock gets confused each time.

ASSESSMENT: partly correct

FACT: there is scientific evidence that biorhythm adjustment is not so easy, especially in springtime. The DAK health insurance company, for example, found in a long-term study that 25 percent more patients with heart problems were hospitalized in the first three days after the time change than the annual average.

In 2014, the federal parliament’s scientific services cited studies from sweden and the u.S. That showed a slightly increased risk of infarction after the spring time changeover. An australian study showed a connection between time change and suicide rate: even small changes in the biorhythm could have a destabilizing effect on people in danger.

In a representative forsa survey commissioned by the DAK (2018), 72 percent of respondents stated that they could not remember the time change having caused them problems before.

CONTAINMENT: schoolchildren and students were particularly hard hit by permanent summer time.


FACTS: after the changeover to permanent daylight saving time, it became light one hour later in the winter mornings. Medical experts point out that people need the blue light of the sun’s rays to wake up. Alfred wiater, chairman of the german society for sleep research and sleep medicine (DGSM), told the german medical journal that serotonin release is stimulated by light "this is how we wake up in the morning".

Munich chronobiologist till roenneberg sees many teenagers affected in particular. Their typical biorhythm shifts their internal clock and makes them slow sleepers. Already the start of school at 08.00 o’clock in the morning is comparable to starting work at 04 o’clock in the morning.00 o’clock for adults. "Adults should simply bear this in mind, (…) how attentive they are then and how well they can learn then.", according to roenneberg in a podcast from his university. The time change exacerbates this problem: "the discrepancy between what the internal clock likes to live by and what we have to live by (…) is extended by one hour – with all the consequences: lack of sleep, more smoking, being under more stress, etc."

The german teachers’ association also considers a permanent changeover to summer time irresponsible. According to the head of the association, heinz-peter meidinger, such a rule would lead to "more than ten million schoolchildren in germany having to go to school in total darkness for two months, which would also increase the number of accidents".

CONSIDERATION: a permanent winter time is closest to natural conditions.


FACTS: "natural" it would have been when the sun reached its zenith at 12 o’clock noon on the dot – that corresponds to "solar time. So it is, for example, in winter in gorlitz, at the easternmost tip of germany. The city is located exactly on the 15. Long degree, it is therefore ideal for the calculation of the "normal time" – the central european time CET – in germany. In hamburg or dortmund, however, the solar time and the time of day no longer coincide, because they are located much further west.

The time zones are based on the coordinated universal time (UTC). For this purpose, the globe is mentally divided into 24 zones, each with a width of 15 long degrees, starting from the prime meridian in greenwich near london. From one of these zones to the next, the time difference is one hour.

In reality, the outlines of time zones are distorted by political borders and geographic realities. CET applies in europe from the atlantic coast to the eastern border of poland. This means that the sun does not reach its highest point in spain until around 1 p.M., while in poland it is already at 11 a.M. The "naturals the permanent winter time thus corresponds to the conditions only in a small part of europe.