Iceland’s clocks will not be turned back one hour, the government has decided. This is the result of more than two years of discussions, a considerable amount of input from the public as well as expert opinions.
While Iceland follows the UTC, geographically speaking, it would make sense to move the clocks back one hour. After a thorough investigation of the advantages and disadvantages of changing the local time to better align with solar time, the government concludes that the arguments in support of the change aren’t strong enough to justify the vast changes involved with moving the clocks back. While the time shift would lead to more sunlight in the morning, the strongest argument for the status quo is that it would lead to 13% fewer daylight hours during waking hours over a year. The change could negatively influence the time locals spend outdoors and exercising.
The government wants to find other ways to combat the adverse health effects of the discrepancy between local and solar time. It has decided to charge the Minister of Health to start an educational campaign on the importance of sleep and to estimate Icelandic sleeping hour habits before and after the campaign, in collaboration with the Director of Health. The Minister of Education and Culture will report on ongoing efforts to improve children and teenagers’ sleeping habits, such as starting school days later. She will also introduce more experimental programs intended to improve sleeping habits and monitor their success.