Extensive research of the effect of the clock being set too early in Iceland will begin this month, the darkest period of the year. Earlier studies have indicated that the discrepancy in time measurement and the biological clock may lead to increased health problems.
Since 1968 the clocks in Iceland have been set according to Greenwich meantime and the time remains unchanged between summer and winter. That means that noon in Reykjavík occurs at 1:30 pm on average, as stated on the University of Iceland Science Web.
A study carried out in Iceland 20 years ago indicated that people of the ages 1-30 suffer from a belated biological clock. “The findings have been confirmed by a recent study of Icelanders 20-30 years old which also concluded that they have a considerably belated biological clock,” lecturer in physiology Björg Þorleifsdóttir told ruv.is.
People suffering from a belated biological clock don’t achieve full sleep on weekdays. A sleep study conducted several years ago concluded that young people in Iceland had severe problems waking up in the mornings; 35 percent of 16-19 year olds suffered from so-called ‘clock fatigue’ way above normal conditions.
“The problems had reached the stage of the individuals in question dropping out of school because of poor attendance and we were speculating whether there might be a link to extensive dropout in secondary schools,” Björg elaborated.
The research to be launched this month will be carried out by an interdisciplinary team comprised of psychologists, chemists and physiologists at the University of Iceland.
“We will send letters to 10,000 individuals asking them to answer questions electronically. We plan to do it in two phases: in the dark period now in January and again at the height of summer,” Björg revealed.