64% of Americans support getting rid of seasonal time changes, according to a recent survey. Health experts highlight the negative effects on sleep and well-being, while proponents argue for economic benefits. Find out more about the history of daylight saving time, the current sentiment, and the bipartisan bill to eliminate clock-changing. Discover the impact on sleep quality and increased health risks associated with time changes. Health experts suggest permanent standard time for better alignment with our natural sleep schedule. Get tips for dealing with time changes and learn about the growing push to prioritize public health and safety.
In a recent survey commissioned by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, it was found that 64% of Americans are in favor of eliminating seasonal time changes. This comes as no surprise to health experts, who have long recognized the negative effects of these time shifts on sleep quality and overall well-being. The biannual ritual of changing the clocks has been practiced in the U.S. since 1918, but now there is growing support for legislation to put an end to this tradition. The Sunshine Protection Act, introduced by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, aims to make daylight saving time permanent, offering the potential for more sunlight in the evenings and the elimination of “falling back” in November. While proponents of the bill argue for the economic benefits of additional daylight, health experts maintain that sticking with standard time, which aligns more with our natural sleep schedule, is the better option. Regardless of the outcome, it’s clear that the majority of Americans are ready for a change when it comes to seasonal time shifts.
Every year, millions of people in the United States adjust their clocks for daylight saving time, losing or gaining an hour of sleep in the process. However, a recent survey commissioned by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) reveals that a majority of Americans are ready to eliminate seasonal time changes. The sentiment towards daylight saving time is changing, with 64% of Americans supporting its elimination.
The history of daylight saving time in the US
Daylight saving time was first introduced in the US in 1918 as a way to conserve energy during World War I. However, subsequent studies have found little to no energy conservation benefit. Surprisingly, daylight saving time was not advocated for by farmers, who found the changes disruptive to their workday. In fact, farmers called for the repeal of daylight saving time in 1919. The Uniform Time Act of 1966 standardized daylight saving time nationwide, with the exception of Hawaii, Arizona, and certain US territories.
The current sentiment towards seasonal time changes
According to the survey conducted by AASM, 64% of Americans support eliminating seasonal time changes. Many individuals find the biannual clock changes disruptive to their sleep schedules and daily routines. Public health and safety were identified as the top factors for elected officials to consider when discussing legislation about daylight saving time. The sentiment towards daylight saving time is shifting, and there is a desire for a more permanent solution.
The bipartisan bill to eliminate clock-changing
To address the growing sentiment against seasonal time changes, a bipartisan bill has been introduced by Florida Senator Marco Rubio. The Sunshine Protection Act aims to make daylight saving time the permanent standard time. The bill received unanimous approval in the Senate in 2022 but failed to pass in the House of Representatives. A new version of the bill was introduced in 2023 but has seen limited progress.
The economic advantages of more daylight
Proponents of eliminating seasonal time changes argue for the economic advantages of having more daylight in the evenings. Research conducted by the JPMorgan Chase Institute in 2016 found that consumer spending dropped by 3.5% after the end of daylight saving time in November. The retail, hospitality, and service industries claim that they benefit greatly from one more hour of daylight at the end of the workday, as it encourages consumers to be out and about spending money.
The impact of time changes on sleep quality
Psychologist Shelby Harris, director of sleep health at Sleepopolis, explains that both the spring and fall time changes can significantly affect sleep quality and quantity. When we lose an hour of sleep in the spring, it can take our bodies longer to adjust to an earlier bedtime, leading to a reduction in sleep quality. On the other hand, when we gain an hour of sleep in the fall, it can cause early morning awakenings and difficulties falling asleep at night. However, the shift back to standard time in the fall is generally an easier adjustment for our bodies.
Increased health risks associated with time changes
The Monday after daylight saving time begins in March, hospitals report a 24% spike in heart attack visits as Americans lose an hour of sleep. Conversely, in November, heart attack visits drop by 21% as people gain an extra hour of sleep. However, even that extra hour can have adverse effects. While the individual health effects may be minimal, there are increased risks when an entire society is affected by the time change. The disruption in sleep patterns at a societal level can contribute to negative health outcomes.
Health experts’ view on permanent time vs. daylight saving time
Health experts agree that seasonal time changes should be eliminated, but they suggest a permanent standard time rather than permanent daylight saving time. Permanent daylight saving time, as proposed by the Sunshine Protection Act, may result in more difficulties waking up in the morning and falling asleep at night. It would mean less morning light to help wake up and more evening light, making it harder to fall asleep. Experts argue that standard time aligns better with our body’s natural sleep schedule and is less disruptive to our circadian rhythm.
AASM’s position statement on eliminating time changes
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) published a position statement in 2020 supporting the elimination of seasonal time changes. The AASM advocates for permanent standard time. They argue that standard time’s extra hour of daylight in the morning is preferable, as it aligns better with our circadian rhythm. Daylight saving time’s darker mornings can disrupt our natural sleep patterns and contribute to an increased risk of adverse health effects such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and depression. The National Safety Council and the American Academy of Cardiovascular Sleep Medicine also endorse this position.
Tips for dealing with time changes
While seasonal time changes are still in place, there are tips for individuals to cope with the adjustments. Prior to the time change, it is recommended to gradually adjust your sleep schedule by getting exposure to bright light in the morning and avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed. On the day of the time change, set your alarm to the new time and try to avoid napping during the day. Get outside and expose yourself to bright light as soon as possible. In the days following the time change, stick to your new sleep schedule as much as possible, engage in regular exercise, eat a healthy diet, and avoid heavy meals before bed.
In conclusion, the sentiment towards seasonal time changes in the US is changing, with a majority of Americans supporting their elimination. A bipartisan bill is being considered to make daylight saving time permanent. While there are economic advantages to more daylight, health experts argue for permanent standard time to align with our body’s natural sleep schedule. Sleep quality can be significantly impacted by time changes, and there are increased health risks associated with societal disruptions in sleep patterns. With the support of organizations like the AASM, there is a growing push to eliminate seasonal time changes and prioritize public health and safety.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are seasonal time changes?
Seasonal time changes refer to the practice of advancing the clock by one hour in the spring and setting it back by one hour in the fall to make better use of daylight.
2. Why do we have seasonal time changes?
Seasonal time changes were first introduced as a way to save energy and make better use of daylight during World War I. The practice was later adopted by many countries around the world, including the United States.
3. What are the benefits of seasonal time changes?
The benefits of seasonal time changes include longer daylight hours in the evening during the summer, which can promote outdoor activities and reduce energy consumption for lighting. However, the benefits are not universal and can vary depending on factors such as location and lifestyle.
4. What are the drawbacks of seasonal time changes?
The drawbacks of seasonal time changes include disrupted sleep patterns, increased risk of accidents and heart attacks, and negative effects on mood and productivity. The effects can be more pronounced in vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly, and people with pre-existing health conditions.
5. What is the current status of seasonal time changes in the United States?
The current status of seasonal time changes in the United States is a subject of debate. Some states have passed legislation to abolish seasonal time changes and adopt permanent standard time or daylight saving time, while others have proposed similar legislation or are considering it.
6. What is permanent standard time?
Permanent standard time refers to the practice of setting the clock back by one hour and keeping it that way year-round. This means that the clock would not be advanced by one hour in the spring.
7. What is permanent daylight saving time?
Permanent daylight saving time refers to the practice of setting the clock ahead by one hour and keeping it that way year-round. This means that the clock would not be set back by one hour in the fall.
8. What are the pros and cons of permanent standard time?
The pros of permanent standard time include earlier morning light, which can promote healthy sleep patterns and reduce the risk of accidents and heart attacks. The cons include shorter daylight hours in the evening during the summer, which can negatively affect outdoor activities and energy consumption.
9. What are the pros and cons of permanent daylight saving time?
The pros of permanent daylight saving time include longer daylight hours in the evening during the summer, which can promote outdoor activities and reduce energy consumption. The cons include later sunrise times in the winter, which can negatively affect morning routines and school schedules.
10. What is the public opinion on seasonal time changes?
According to a recent survey commissioned by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 6 in 10 Americans (64%) support eliminating seasonal time changes.
11. What are some countries that do not observe seasonal time changes?
Many countries around the world do not observe seasonal time changes. According to a recent report by the Pew Research Center, only about a third of the world’s countries practice daylight saving time, and the vast majority of them are in Europe. Within Europe, only Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Iceland, Russia, and Turkey do not practice daylight saving time. Outside of Europe, daylight saving time is most common in North America, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Other countries that do not observe seasonal time changes include Egypt, Iran, Namibia, and Uruguay.
12. How does daylight saving time affect the economy?
The economic impact of daylight saving time is a subject of debate. According to a report by the New York Times, the shift to daylight saving time can result in substantial productivity losses due to disrupted sleep patterns. A recent study by JPMorgan Chase Institute found that the switch back to standard time is associated with a drop in spending between 2.2% and 4.9%, depending on where you live. However, a U.S. bill passed by the Senate would make daylight saving time permanent, ending the need to adjust our clocks every fall and spring. The bill cites health, economic, and public safety benefits for the change, such as the potential for an increase in consumer spending and a reduction in car crashes.