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Summer time in Mexico could come to an end: what is the reason?


President López Obrador sent a bill to Congress to eliminate daylight saving time after concluding that the practice harms health and the savings are not what was promised. But what do the experts say about the health impacts? And, is there really an energy saving?

Sleep and Daylight Saving Time 6:08

(CNN Spanish) --

Summer time in Mexico could soon come to an end.

The measure that has been in force in the country since 1996 and involves advancing the clock one hour every early April has been evaluated by the Government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who in July sent an initiative to Congress so that it is no longer implemented.

The president of Mexico had already stated before that his government intended to put an end to the time change questioning the effectiveness of the summer.

"The savings are minimal and the damage to health is considerable," he said last June.

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This Tuesday he said that he sent the reform initiative to eliminate summer time in the country.

The Government argues that the Time Zone Law Initiative was presented after concluding that advancing the clock every early April is harmful to health and the energy savings that were promised when it came into force 26 years ago have not been produced.

If the proposal is approved in Congress, the last month that the clock would be changed would be next October.

For eight months of the year, Mexico and dozens of other countries follow daylight saving time, and for the remaining four months they return to standard (winter) time.

But, what are the reasons given by the Government?

Also, what is said in other countries where the time change is also being debated?

And which ones have time change, some

did they ever have it or have they never implemented it?


Why does summer time exist?


Health impact and "minimal" energy savings

The Secretary of Health, Jorge Alcocer, explained on Tuesday the conclusions reached after evaluating the decision to end summer time.

He said that the time change is detrimental to health because it causes problems with sleep, memory and concentration, depression, suicidal ideation.

In addition, he mentioned that the time change is associated with an increased incidence of heart attacks.

"More and more studies show that the differences in time between the social clock and the biological clock challenge health, they even alter it, so if we want to improve our health we should not fight against our biological clock; it is advisable to return to the standard time, which is when the time of the sundial coincides with the time of the social clock, the clock of God," Alcocer said.

For her part, the Secretary of Energy, Rocío Nahle, assured that energy savings "are very low compared to total consumption" and "there is no impact on family spending."

Nahle announced that last June they conducted a survey on the subject in which 71% of the participants said they disagreed with changing the time.

"There is a popular rejection, there is a permanent disagreement in society since 1996, when this schedule was installed," she said without giving more details.

US Congress processes law to set a single schedule in the country 2:02

Historically, the raison d'être of summer time has been to take advantage of more sunlight to use less electricity in homes or work buildings.

According to figures presented by Nahle on Tuesday, the results of carrying out this practice have fallen since 2010, when a savings peak was recorded.

In 2021, according to data from the Ministry of Energy, the savings that summer time has brought was 537 gigawatts per hour, which represents 0.16 percent of national consumption, and is equivalent to 1,138 million pesos (US$ 55,288)

Nahle said that the technological innovation of home appliances and energy-saving light bulbs have produced greater results in energy efficiency than the modification of clocks.

While the practice can help reduce some energy consumption, critics of the move around the world have raised concerns about whether the amount of energy saved is worth the hassle of rolling out the system across the globe.

In 2008, the US Department of Energy found that a four-week extension of daylight saving time from April-October to March-November saved about 0.5% in total electricity every day.

While that seems like next to nothing, it totals 1.3 billion kilowatt-hours, which according to the US Department of Energy adds up to "the amount of electricity used by more than 100,000 homes for an entire year."

Another of the arguments that the Government of Mexico has given to say goodbye to this schedule has to do with health.

Experts say that adjusting our clocks in the spring alters the circadian system, which controls sleep.

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That is, during daylight saving time, the clock advances one hour, so sunrise and sunset occur one hour later than before.

This also advances the biological clock by one hour.

Therefore, one might tend to go to bed later and have a harder time getting up in the morning.

But skimping on sleep goes way beyond dark circles.

Lack of sleep is linked to type II diabetes, heart attacks, and depression.

On the other hand, there are those who assure that this practice does not suppose great damage to health, except for those people who suffer from sleep disorders.

"If someone has a disease of this type, it is difficult for them to start sleeping and get up, and this is aggravated during the time change, to which they never adapt, says Ulises Jiménez Correa, director of the Sleep Disorders Clinic of the Faculty of Medicine at UNAM.

According to Jiménez, for the population in general, it does not imply a major problem.

"This measure can make you a little tired for the first few days, but after a week you will have adapted," he says.

The controversy in other countries

Mexico is not the only country in the world where it is debated whether or not the time change should exist.

In the European Union (EU) it is a controversy that comes twice a year with each clock adjustment because the member countries cannot agree on its implementation, despite the fact that in 2018 the European Parliament voted in favor of ending this practice.

The survey promoted by Brussels then also showed that among the European population there is no unanimous response to the issue: although 84% of the participants (4.6 million) voted in favor of putting an end to it, there is at least 20% in favor of continuing with this practice.

  • The United States Senate passes a bill to make daylight saving time permanent

In the United States, the Senate approved last March by unanimous consensus the Sunlight Protection Act, which would make daylight saving time permanent in that country.

Although it would still have to pass the House of Representatives and be signed by President Joe Biden to become law, the bill has its critics.

"The Sunlight Protection Act? You could also call it the Darkness Protection Act," Dr. David Neubauer, a sleep medicine expert at Johns Hopkins University, told CNN.

Neubauer is not alone in this sentiment.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine issued a statement following the passage of this law in the Senate, warning that "making DST permanent ignores potential health risks that can be avoided by establishing a permanent standard time" .

The following chart shows the countries that currently have DST, have ever had it, or have never used it:

With reporting from CNN's Paul LeBlanc and Ali Zaslav

© Summer time in Mexico could come to an end: what is the reason?

Change of schedulesSummer Time

Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2022-07-05

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