Daylight Saving Time Endangers Health

Daylight Saving Time Endangers Health

Twice a year, people all across Europe are disturbed by the changing of the clocks. The transition from winter time to summer time and back again was originally intended to help make better use of daylight and increase productivity at work. Thankfully, today there is a growing consensus to abandon this practice, and discussions about ending daylight saving time are becoming more frequent. Unfortunately, everything points to a prolonged resolution.

Daylight Saving Time is not justifiable.

The confusion created by changing the clocks twice a year is sufficient reason to abandon the practice. The time change does not result in any significant savings. There is no conclusive calculation of how much energy is saved through daylight saving time, nor how much productivity is gained from making better use of daylight. The practice is an end in itself, similar to various other measures concocted by the bureaucracy of the European Union (such as the banana curvature standard, the reduction of vacuum cleaner motor power, and the global standard for compost bins). However, any political initiative that does not benefit people’s well-being, standard of living, and economic prosperity loses its purpose.

Daylight Saving Time endangers health.

Each year, the clock change leads to a temporary increase in depression, as playing with time causes stress and discomfort. In the current fragile geopolitical situation, additional stress is certainly unwelcome. Questions such as, “Did I set all my clocks correctly? How will I feel in the following days?” plague every European turned into a guinea pig by this practice.

The painful reaction to daylight saving time is not just an emotional response; it reflects the body’s protest against an uncomfortable situation. According to doctors, the rhythm of night and day is a cognitive process evolved through evolution, and attempting to defy this natural order is sheer folly. Doctors explain that changing the clocks impairs attention and reduces work capacity. In Europe, the damage could amount to billions of euros lost through accidents and decreased productivity due to worker fatigue. Why continue this practice? Daylight Saving Time also causes sleep disorders, which can irreversibly damage health and cause severe and challenging-to-treat changes in the body. The impact of daylight saving time on public health, already fragile due to war-related stress, is a question in and of itself.

Summer Time or Winter Time – Which to Choose?

The delay in abandoning daylight saving time is due to countries’ inability to agree on whether to adopt permanent summer time or winter time. People broadly fall into two categories: night owls and early birds, and this preference influences their opinion on whether to adopt a time zone close to winter time or the supposedly more invigorating summer time. The majority of Estonian residents are industrious early birds. According to surveys, 70% of us support permanent summer time, while only 20% want to continue with winter time, which is closer to our time zone. The remaining 10% are undecided.

Summer time’s popularity is undoubtedly influenced by the fact that summer is a rare and cherished season for northerners, making us all feel younger, filling our hearts with love, and our minds with inspiration. Hence, there is a longing for everything associated with summer. However, from a health, productivity, and long-term societal well-being perspective, doctors recommend living in conditions as close to our natural time zone as possible. Therefore, winter time would be the wiser choice, as who wouldn’t want to stay healthy, productive, and active all year round?

We should abandon Daylight Saving Time as soon as possible.

According to studies, a third of Estonian residents are in a state of depression or on the verge of it. The stress of war has undoubtedly exacerbated this situation. Of course, the lack of sunlight during the winter months also plays a significant role in this sad statistic, but daylight saving time contributes as well. Compared to southern countries, our seasonal variations in day and night lengths are extremely large, which also explains our national mental peculiarities.

Finland took the lead in advocating for the end of daylight saving time, submitting a proposal to the European Parliament to put an end to the time changes. The issue was discussed a few years ago, and a decision was made to abandon the practice. However, like all initiatives requiring consensus in the European Union, progress has stalled. European politicians have used the excuse that they were too preoccupied with the COVID-19 crisis and now the war to proceed with this issue. How true this is, only the misguided minds in Brussels can say.

We should not postpone the end of daylight saving time any further. The Estonian government should also be more vocal in demanding a resolution, as people are eagerly awaiting a solution.

Vsevolod Jürgenson