(March 17, 2022) — A few days ago the United States Senate unanimously passed a bill that would make Daylight Savings Time permanent nationwide. Instead of changing our clocks every spring and fall, there would be only one time year-round. If the bill becomes law, the change would happen in 2023.
“This is a great idea. We really do need to stop changing the time twice a year,” said Dr. Anuj Chandra, medical director of the Advanced Center or Sleep Disorders. “When you change your body’s sleep cycle so dramatically, there can be serious medical consequences. It’s not just a question of yawning or being sleepy for a little while. In the spring, we see a significant increase in the risk for strokes, heart attacks, and motor vehicle accidents in the week right after the time change, especially the first day.”
According to Dr. Chandra, there is some scientific evidence that Standard Time is healthier for people because it aligns more closely with the body’s natural circadian rhythms. For example, Daylight Savings Time seems to disrupt the body’s natural adjustment to seasonal changes in the length of daylight during the year, due to the effect of late evening light.
However, Dr. Chandra says, it’s not as important which time becomes permanent, Daylight Savings Time or Standard Time.
“The main thing is to avoid making a big change all at once,” he said. “Your body needs consistency. When you have to change your sleep schedule for some reason, maybe a change in your work schedule, that can be done more safely if you make the change gradually. When we change the clock in the fall and spring, it’s really a shock to your system.”