American Medical Association’s New Prescription: Nix Daylight Saving Time
The group joins sleep and safety experts calling for year-round Standard Time
Joining several other health organizations, sleep and safety experts and the national PTA, the American Medical Association today threw its heft behind a movement to persuade the U.S. Congress to end biannual time changes and go with permanent Standard Time.
“For far too long, we’ve changed our clocks in pursuit of daylight, while incurring public health and safety risks in the process,” said AMA Trustee Alexander Ding, MD. “Committing to Standard Time has health benefits and allows us to end the biannual tug of war between our biological and alarm clocks.”
Ding’s statement, posted to the AMA’s website today, stemmed from a decision in a policy meeting of AMA delegates held this week.
Earlier this year the Senate voted unanimously to instead eliminate Standard Time and make Daylight Saving Time permanent. The bill stalled in the House of Representatives. Since then, sleep experts have made a strong case for ending the time changes but sticking with Standard Time, which most states just fell back to on Nov. 6.
The switch to DST each spring comes with a brief spike in car crashes and heart attacks that scientists attribute to lack of sleep. Beyond that blip, Standard Time offers more morning daylight throughout the year, which is said to be safer for school children and better aligned with our natural circadian rhythms that govern sleep-wake cycles. Early morning daylight is critical to telling the body clock when it’s time to be awake and alert, and therefore when it’s time to get sleepy at night.
I explained the science in detail earlier this month, including this graphic that serves as one example of why sleep experts favor nixing DST:
While the majority of Americans support ending the biannual time changes, not everyone hopes for Standard Time as the default option. “I prefer permanent Daylight Saving Time,” a reader named L.A. Strucke wrote in my previous article’s comments section. “It is awful for those who work 9–5 to come out of work to darkness. Many people don’t like shopping for groceries in the dark and it…