The end of Daylight Saving Time, an autumn tradition in which the United States, Europe, most of Canada, and a few other nations turn their clocks back one hour to simulate Groundhog Day, is almost approaching. When governments reinstate daylight saving time in the spring of 2019, we will advance them once more.
But are we relying on a harmful, outmoded concept? The Sunshine Protection Act of 2021, which was passed by the US Senate in March and, if it becomes law, would make Daylight Saving Time permanent, disagrees.
As per CNN, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), who initially introduced the bill in the US Senate, stated in a statement that “the push to eliminate the outmoded practice of clock shifting is gaining traction throughout the nation.” Daylight Saving Time was made permanent in Florida by a decision of the state legislature in 2018, but it cannot take effect until it is also made a federal law.
The US House of Representatives still needs to pass the legislation before the President can sign it into law. We’ll set our clocks forward and leave them there if and when that happens so that we can always be one hour ahead of the sun.
But an increasing number of sleep specialists claim that advancing our clocks in the spring is bad for our health. Studies conducted over the past 25 years have revealed that the hour change throws off physiological rhythms tuned to the Earth’s rotation, fueling the argument that there should be no daylight saving time at all.
According to Dr. Elizabeth Klerman, a professor of neurology in the division of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School, “I’m one of the many sleep experts that recognizes it’s a horrible idea.”
According to Klerman, “Your body clock stays with (natural) light, not with the clock on your wall.” Furthermore, there is no proof that your body adjusts completely to the new time.
Daylight Saving Time is opposed by Dr. Phyllis Zee, director of the Center for Circadian and Sleep Medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Evanston, Illinois. Your body receives less morning light and more evening light between March and November, which might disrupt your circadian cycle, she explained.
According to Zee, standard time, which we enter when we turn our clocks back in the fall, is much more closely related to the sun’s cycle of day and night. Our body clock, or circadian rhythm, has been set by this cycle over many years.
The internal clock also regulates “your blood pressure, your heart rate, and your cortisol rhythm,” Zee continued, in addition to when you want to eat, exercise, or work.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has urged the end of Daylight Saving Time: The best available data favors the implementation of year-round standard time because it best satisfies human circadian rhythms and offers clear advantages for public health and safety.
The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the National Parent Teacher Association, the National Safety Council, the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms, and the World Sleep Society are just a few of the medical, scientific, and civic organizations that have endorsed the proposal.
We experience “social jet lag,” or internal clocks that are even slightly out of sync with the solar day-night cycle. According to studies, social jet lag affects the digestive and endocrine systems, shortens our sleep time, and increases the risk of metabolic disorders like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. It also worsens mood disorders like depression. In fact, it may shorten life expectancy.
According to a 2003 study, sleeping an hour less every night for two weeks had the same impact on thinking and motor skills as sleeping for two nights straight. Another study found that sleeping less than the recommended 7 to 8 hours a night for adults affected immune cell DNA and increased inflammation, a major contributor to chronic disease.
According to a statement from the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms, making the time change permanent would exacerbate the chronic effects of any sleep loss, not only “because we have to go to work an hour earlier for an additional 5 months every year but also because body clocks are usually later in winter than in summer with reference to the sun clock.”
The authors found that adding DST to winter will exacerbate the discrepancies between biological clocks and social clocks and have a detrimental effect on human health.
The Sunshine Protection Act was enacted by the US Senate with absolute unanimity for a purpose. Because people prefer to shop and exercise during the day, proponents claim that having more daylight in the evening reduces traffic accidents and crime while increasing chances for commerce and enjoyment.
However, studies show that after the clocks spring forward, fatal car accidents and heart attacks both rises. Additionally, with disastrous results, kids end up going to school in the morning when it is still dark.
It was a well-liked decision when President Richard Nixon made Daylight Saving Time a permanent rule in January 1974. But by the end of the month, eight youngsters had been struck by cars in the dark, prompting Florida’s governor to urge for the law’s repeal. Schools all around the nation postponed starting times until the sun rose. After public support had drastically declined during the summer, Congress voted to return to regular time in early October.
When the US initially instituted Daylight-Saving Time in 1918 as a means of reducing demand for power usage by adding sunshine to the end of the day in response to World War I, there was a similar outcry. (Since then, studies have shown that the approach has little to no cost savings.) Because of how unpopular the time change was, the law was overturned the next year.
“The United States attempted permanent DST twice before terminating it early. The UK attempted it once before calling it quits. India and Russia both gave it a shot once and called it quits,” according to Klerman. “I believe that history should be studied,”