DARIEN, IL – The American Academy of Sleep Medicine applauds the Senate for passing a bill to establish a national, fixed, year-round time in the U.S. We agree with Senator Marco Rubio, sponsor of the Sunshine Protection Act, that eliminating the biannual time changes in March and November is “an idea whose time has come.” However, the AASM cautions that making daylight saving time permanent overlooks potential health risks that can be avoided by establishing permanent standard time instead.
An AASM daylight saving time position statement published in 2020 supports the elimination of seasonal time changes. Data clearly show that the sudden change from standard time to daylight saving time in March is associated with significant public health and safety risks, including increased risk of adverse cardiovascular events, mood disorders, and motor vehicle crashes.
The AASM position statement also indicates that “current evidence best supports the adoption of year-round standard time, which aligns best with human circadian biology and provides distinct benefits for public health and safety.” The statement was endorsed by more than 20 medical, scientific, and civic organizations, including the American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, National PTA, National Safety Council, Society for Research on Biological Rhythms, and World Sleep Society.
The potential merits and drawbacks of daylight saving time (which shifts daylight hours later in the evening) and standard time (which shifts daylight hours earlier in the morning) were discussed in detail during the March 9 hearing held by the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The AASM had requested a congressional hearing on daylight saving time in 2021, so we commend the Committee on Energy and Commerce for taking into consideration the important perspective of sleep and circadian science. Unfortunately, today’s quick action by the Senate allowed for neither a robust discussion nor a debate. We call on the House to take more time to assess the potential ramifications of establishing permanent daylight saving time before making such an important decision that will affect all Americans.
It is time to stop changing the time twice per year. We believe that permanent standard time is the best option for health.
To arrange an interview with an AASM spokesperson, please contact the AASM at 630-737-9700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can submit comments about daylight saving time to your U.S. senators and representative using the online campaign in the AASM Action Center.
About the American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Established in 1975, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine is advancing sleep care and enhancing sleep health to improve lives. The AASM has a combined membership of 11,000 accredited member sleep centers and individual members, including physicians, scientists and other health care professionals.