With the Annual ritual of changing clocks upon us, I decided to side with my colleagues in the Medical profession and cast my vote for Standard time 365 days a year. The medical benefits of utilizing this approach are significant.
The following medical organizations have all touted this idea: American Medical Association, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, American Academy of Cardiovascular Sleep Medicine, American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and Society of Anesthesia and Sleep Medicine to name a few.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine issued the following statement: “The U.S. should eliminate seasonal time changes in favor of a National, fixed, year round time.”
“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.”
Specifically, there would be fewer heart attacks, strokes, and car accidents. Work productivity would increase. Mental alertness would be improved. More Americans would get a good night of sleep year round instead of shocking the system twice per year. So how did we get to this point?
Daylight Savings Time was introduced by President Woodrow Wilson in 1918 during World War l in order to save on fuel costs by extending daylight by one hour. European countries who adopted Daylight Savings Time reported decreased coal consumption. Daylight Savings Time was abandoned in America after World War l.
It was reinstituted during World War ll. In 1966 the Uniform Time Act was passed that brought about the clock changes that we are all hassled by. Only two states opted out-most of Arizona and all of Hawaii. They stayed on Standard time all year round. They are quite happy they did. In 2005 Congress expanded Daylight Savings Time.
If not struck down the Sunshine Protection Act will federally establish Daylight Savings Time all year round to start in 2023. This will result in greater sleep loss, and pose a public health threat. For Orthodox Jews it means not being able to say morning prayers till well into the work day. This will be a major imposition and burden.
The disruption on the normal circadian rhythm will effect schoolchildren and the work force. The savings in electricity will be offset by the loss of productivity and health of the American worker. Congress should look long and hard at the Risk/Benefit ratio of year round Daylight Savings Time. I believe as a Physician that the risks greatly outweigh the benefits. It would be much better overall if year round Standard Time was adopted.