Permanent standard time is better than daylight saving time, say sleep experts
“We applaud the end of the switch during the year and the choice of a permanent time,” said Jocelyn Cheng, member of the public safety committee of the AASM. But, she added, “the standard time, for so many scientific and circadian rationales and for public health safety reasons, really should be the time that permanent time is set.”
The AASM made this position clear in 2020 when it released a position statement recommending that the country institute Standard Time year-round. His reasoning, in part, is that standard time is more closely associated with the intrinsic circadian rhythm of humans, and that disruption of this rhythm, as occurs with daylight saving time, has been associated with increased risks of obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and depression. .
Although some experts called for more research before deciding on a permanent time while others questioned the push for a year-round standard time, the AASM statement received more support. a dozen other organizations, including the National Safety Council and the National Parent Teacher Association. .
“The Senate has finally achieved something that Americans want across the country: to never have to change the clock again,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who spoke in the Senate after the vote. Murray co-authored the bipartisan legislation with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), among others.
“No more gloomy winter afternoons,” Murray said. “No more losing an hour of sleep every spring. We want more sunlight during our most productive waking hours.
But many sleep experts say those in favor of more light in the late afternoon and evening may not be considering the cost.
“We’ve all enjoyed those summer evenings with seemingly endless twilights,” said David Neubauer, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University. But DST “doesn’t ‘save’ the evening light at all, it just steals it from the morning when it’s needed to maintain our healthy biological rhythms.”
Although the AASM noted that the chronic effects of permanent daylight saving time have not been well studied, it highlighted some research that found that “the biological clock does not adapt to the ‘summer time even after several months’, which could lead to a permanent discrepancy between the environmental clock and the biological clock.
“The circadian clock isn’t just something that involves your brain cells,” Cheng said. “The circadian clock also regulates rhythms in other areas of the body – like heart cells, like liver cells – and by altering our natural circadian rhythm in this way, we reject that biological rhythm, and that’s longer.long term effect.
While no time system is perfect for everyone, making daylight saving time permanent would lead to more dark mornings than we currently have, said Phyllis Zee, head of sleep medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.
“With daylight saving time, we’re perpetually out of sync with our internal clocks and often get less nighttime sleep, both of which have negative health effects,” Neubauer said. “The extra evening light suppresses melatonin which should prepare us for sleep. The later dawn during daylight saving time robs our biological clocks of the critical light signal.
Experts say circadian misalignment has been linked to adverse effects on cognition and mood as well as cardiovascular and metabolic function. “It’s really not a good thing to have your internal clocks out of sync,” Zee said. “Imagine being jet lagged most of the time; it can’t be good for you.
The current enthusiasm for permanent daylight saving time is “grossly misguided,” said Neubauer, who predicted a return to the “extremely unpopular dark winter mornings of the 1970s with commuters going to work and children going to school well before sunrise, inevitably resulting in injury and death”. .”
Zee said her “heart sank” when she saw the news of the Senate vote. “I thought there would be more discussion, that it wouldn’t be as unanimous.” Of the three potential time systems for the country – permanent standard, semi-annual switching and permanent daylight saving time – she said, the latter is “probably the worst choice”.
The AASM noted in its statement on Tuesday that the advantages and disadvantages of daylight saving time and winter time were discussed in detail during a hearing held by an energy subcommittee. and Commerce of the Chamber on March 9. “Unfortunately, [Tuesday’s] quick action by the Senate did not allow for a solid discussion or debate,” the statement said. “We call on the House to take more time to assess the potential ramifications of establishing permanent DST before making such an important decision that will affect all Americans.”
“Everyone is advocating for a permanent time, but this difference between one hour backwards and one hours forward is not so clear in everyone’s mind,” Cheng said. “I would like to see more debate and due diligence on these health consequences and public safety measures before anything else goes ahead.”