Published on March 25, 2023 at 11:00 am
This year too, the last week of March marks the change to summer time. A change that can disrupt our sleep pattern.
The change to summer time in France will take place this weekend, on the night of Saturday March 25 to Sunday March 26. Do not panic, for electronic devices, the change will be done automatically. The hands will therefore move forward one hour: at 2 a.m., it will be 3 a.m.
On the positive side, this marks the arrival of summer with its longer days. Negative point: we will therefore lose an hour of sleep.
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One hour of lost sleep
“If switching to winter time does not cause other negative effects, switching to summer time additionally creates a sleep debt of one hour,” explains chronobiologist Claude Gronfier to the According to the French lighting association, in the week following the time change, an increase in car accidents, myocardial infarctions, strokes and depressive states can be observed.
With the sun setting later and later in the summer, this “sleep debt” would continue to grow. Indeed, if the sun sets later, so do we. And this, while getting up at the same time.
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Why this change?
Applied in France for the first time in 1916, after Germany and the United Kingdom, the purpose of the time change was to save energy resources, such as coal. Abandoned in 1944, it was finally reapplied in 1975 in a decree which fixed summer time at GMT+2. Objective: to reduce artificial lighting times in the evening. Exception made overseas, where the time change does not apply, except for Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon.
A measure which was to be temporary, but which is still applied. Indeed, the European Commission had announced its desire to eliminate the time change. The benefits of this change are increasingly contested with the generalization of low-consumption light bulbs. In a public consultation launched in 2018 at European level, 84% of respondents were in favor of abolishing the time change.
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