Time change: problems with winter time

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Blue light against disturbances of the biorhythm

On the last Sunday in October, summer time ends, as it does every year. In the night from Saturday to Sunday, the clocks are reset from three to two o'clock. If summer time was actually introduced to make better use of daylight and save energy, it is now clear that this approach has not been successful. However, the time change shows a massive influence on the biorhythm in many people. Not only because their sleeping times are shifted by an hour, but also, for example, because their usual meal times change.

Germany has had summer time since 1980, when the clocks on the first Sunday in March of each year are one hour ahead of normal time (today's winter time). The basic idea was to make better use of natural light to save energy, particularly in view of the 1973 oil crisis. Since 2001, “Central European Summer Time” has been in force throughout the European Union (EU). However, the time change remains controversial to this day, as the hoped-for energy savings could not be realized and many people find it extremely difficult to cope with the sudden change in time. The biorhythm takes some time to adjust to the shift.

Biorhythm reacts sensitively to the time change Basically, the effects of the time change must be differentiated between lark and owl types. Lark types are people who wake up in the early morning and reach their most active phase relatively early in the day, while owl people are more of a late riser who stay active until late in the evening. The owl types have considerable problems, especially when switching to summer time, while the lark types are increasingly having difficulty with the biorhythm when they are now switching to winter time. They wake up long before work in the morning and are often so tired in the early afternoon that they can lie down. In general, however, all people show a more or less strong effect of the time change on their biorhythm. For example, the shift in the light-dark phases in relation to the time and the usual daily rhythm leads to the fact that many people have to struggle with sleep problems in the days after the time change, which in turn can lead to problems with concentration and increased tiredness during the day.

Four out of ten Germans have sleep problems due to the time change The negative effects of the time change on the sleep rhythm are also confirmed by a current representative forsa survey on behalf of the Kaufmännchen Krankenkasse (KKH). More than 1,000 participants were asked about the perceived effects of changing the time from summer to winter. According to the results of the survey "four out of ten Germans have problems with the time change - women (46 percent) significantly more than men (36 percent)", the KKH said. It would take most of those affected a few days to get back to their normal sleep pattern. Nine percent of women and four percent of men said that they literally suffer from the time change.

Changes in sleeping behavior in autumn and winter The survey also found that women in general seem to have to struggle with greater adjustments to sleeping behavior than men in the upcoming dark season, reports the KKH. Almost half of the women would have indicated that they sleep more in autumn and winter than in the summer half-year. According to their own statements, only a third of men needed more sleep in winter and autumn than in summer. Even if the need for sleep increases in the dark season, "you shouldn't oversleep the day completely," emphasizes Harry Konrad from the KKH service team in Gießen in the current press release from the health insurance company. Because exercise in the fresh air boosts the circulation, activates body cells and can thus strengthen the immune system. "In addition, sunlight is important for the formation of vitamin D, another natural helper against the risk of colds," continues Konrad.

Blue light against fatigue
As a tip for the lark type people to compensate for the biorhythm disturbances by changing the time on Sunday, the chief physician of the sleep medicine clinic at the St. Hedwig Hospital in Berlin, Dieter Kunz, gave blue light in a current press release from the news agency "dpa". As soon as it gets dark, the lark types should turn it on, as the light with a high proportion of blue cheers up and helps to overcome chronic fatigue, the expert explained. Light with a particularly high proportion of blue, for example, is produced by special luminaires to combat winter depression from the pharmacy. (fp)

Image: Simone Hainz / pixelio.de

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Video: Daylight Saving Time 101. National Geographic

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