The time change should actually be a thing of the past, as in 2019 a clear majority of the EU Parliament voted to abolish the time change. But nothing came of it because the member states have not yet been able to agree on whether winter time (standard time) or summer time should always prevail after the time change ends. As long as the countries do not come to an agreement, the clock will continue to be turned forward or back. From Sunday, summer time will apply again: on the night of Sunday, March 31st, the clocks will be set forward to three o’clock at two o’clock in the morning. Unfortunately for some people.

According to a representative Forsa survey commissioned by the health insurance company DAK, 30 percent of the 1,000 respondents suffered from the consequences of the time change. Women are particularly affected at 39 percent – an increase of nine percentage points compared to the previous year, while only 20 percent of men report similar problems.

The time change has a negative impact on many people: around 79 percent of those affected feel tired and weak, and 63 percent complain of difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. 39 percent of those surveyed have difficulty concentrating and a full 32 percent are irritable. In addition, ten percent of those surveyed reported depressive moods. In the DAK survey on the time change from last year, almost half of those surveyed said that their symptoms lasted up to a week. For one in four even up to a month.

“The time change to daylight saving time is like a mini jet lag for us,” said Dr. Olga Tselikmann, senior physician in the sleep laboratory at the Düsseldorf University Hospital, told the “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger”. The time change disrupts the sleep rhythm. The result: We don’t get enough sleep.

Many people therefore still want the time change to be abolished: a full 76 percent of those surveyed in the DAK survey on the time change from last year. More than half of those surveyed are in favor of permanent summer time. Many respondents (59 percent) would also have no problem with the fact that the sun sometimes only rises around 9:30 a.m. in winter. In the survey, only 37 percent are in favor of permanent winter time, i.e. standard time.

Sleep researchers, on the other hand, assume that permanent daylight saving time could have a negative impact because it would affect our internal clock. The inner clock is based on daylight and darkness. When it gets dark, the body prepares for sleep and releases the hormone melatonin, which makes us tired. With permanent summer time, it would be light longer in the evenings – and especially the night owls among us would find it much more difficult to go to bed on time, says Olga Tselikmann.

Sleep researcher Hans-Günter Weeß, head of the sleep center at the Pfalzklinikum Klingenmünster, also spoke out against permanent summer time in an interview with stern. Because: Due to the long brightness, we don’t get tired early enough, but we also can’t sleep longer because we have to go to school or the office. The result: Over time there is a risk of a chronic lack of sleep. If the time change is abolished, the researcher recommends permanent winter time because it corresponds to natural time and is linked to the light-dark rhythm.

Sources: DAK survey, Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, DAK survey 2023