Updated May 12, 2022
On Tuesday, March 15, The U.S Senate passes legislation with unanimous support to end Daylight Savings Time (DST) to establish a permanent standard time. The bill is called the Sunshine Protection Act, and it would not take effect until 2023. As of March 16, this bill has not yet passed the House of Representatives.
Daylight savings was first used in World War I and World War II to extend the workday and save energy. After WWII it was up to the states to decide when to do the clock changes so Congress passed the Uniform Time Act in 1969 to avoid misalignment and make sure every state was practicing spring ahead and fall back on the same dates. Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and other territories have already abolished daylight savings.
Putting an end to DST would have a healthy impact on our sleep and overall well-being. Daylight savings has been known to have negative effects on our sleep and overall health.
Shifting the clock for even one hour can make it difficult to wake up and fall asleep. This is an issue for people who have to adjust quickly to keep up with their sleep schedule for work. The loss of an hour of sleep can lead to sleep deprivation and a loss of efficiency at work. For certain jobs, it can increase the risk of workplace injuries. The sudden shift hurts our circadian rhythm, it can take a few days to a week to fully adjust.
DST can lead to long-term health effects. Studies show that DST is linked to an increase in depression. It can lead to a slower metabolism and weight gain. The week after the shift to DST, there is a higher risk of cardiovascular disease with a 24% higher risk of heart attacks.
The stroke rate increases as well as mental health issues. There is also reportedly a spike in depression. This will be worse for people with pre-existing sleep disorders.
Researchers have reported a consistent rise in fatal traffic accidents during the week of spring forward. The time change causes a 6 percent increase in motor vehicle crashes. The sudden shift makes it difficult to get enough sleep and causes people to feel drowsy or jet-lagged. Driving while feeling this way is similar to driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
There are several reasons to abolish daylight savings. All of the sleep disruptions that occur the week after would no longer be a problem. People would no longer need to try to establish a new sleep pattern or internal clock to make it through their workweek.
You would be much safer from car and workplace accidents. Both you and the people around you would be better rested, making it easier to function on the road. Lives would be saved year after year.
A lot of people would be much healthier. No one would have to contend with the stress on their hearts that the one-hour shift causes. It would also help with mental health issues like depression and other problems that cause sleep loss. Experts recommend a permanent standard time over a permanent daylight savings time.
Here are some sleep tips and other help provided by sleep experts that will help you overcome your sleep problems from DST, return to a healthy sleep schedule and restore your wellness. Hopefully, you will not need these much longer.
Seek Natural Light - The Sun’s bright light will help set your internal clock which will help control things like your sleep-wake cycle. Getting some Sun on the first Sunday morning will help stop melatonin production to reduce drowsiness.
Gradually Transition - Go to bed 15 minutes early each day several days before the time change.
Take Naps - Taking short naps after the change will help with daytime sleepiness. Avoid long naps though as this could make it more difficult to sleep at night.
Exercise - Workouts are a good way to help you sleep better. This is useful any time of the year. For more information check out our page on exercise and sleep.
To enjoy quality sleep after DST, try to get back to your regular sleep schedule as soon as possible. This will ensure that you can function properly and maintain healthy sleep habits and a healthy lifestyle. Check out our page on sleep essentials for more help.
Daylight savings has no real health benefits for our sleep and overall health. A survey from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) reported that 63% of Americans support the elimination of seasonal time changes. Eliminating the time change once and for all will allow everyone to continue to enjoy better sleep all year round.
Steven is a content writer who recently broke into the mattress industry. In his free time, he enjoys watching football and listening to music.