Iceland Mag

13 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Culture

Will Iceland be moved into its right geographical time zone?

By Staff

  • Wrong time Iceland is is in the GMT time zone which is not in harmony with the country’s geographical position as can be seen in this map by Worldtravelserver.

A lecturer of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Iceland, Björg Þorleifsdóttir, maintains moving Iceland's clock one hour back is a pressing matter. Björg says that our body’s systems run to a certain rhythm which is dictated by sunlight but because Iceland’s time is not in harmony with the country’s geographical position, sunrise, noon and sunset happen an hour later than our biological clocks indicate.

Björg points out that an estimated 35 per cent of Icelandic teenagers suffer from social jet lag, which is misalignment of biological and social time.

Since 1968 Iceland has been in the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) time zone, named after a district in London. However, Iceland’s much farther west than London so sunrise in Reykjavík happens an hour later than in UK's capital. 

Today, for example, the sun reached its highest point in the sky around at 13.17 (1.17pm) in Reykjavík but at 11.49 (11.49 am) in Greenwich (you can see time for sunrise and sunset in Iceland at the Icelandic Met Office homepage).

Björg and many others believe that this lack of harmony between the  geographical position and current time negatively impacts the health of the nation and can cause seasonal depression and social jetlag.

Members of Iceland's parliament recently proposed the clock be moved back by one hour.

Should the proposal be accepted Iceland will join the Atlantic island nation of Cape Verde in the -1 GMT time zone. Currently Cape Verde is the only country in that time zone.

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