American Academy of Sleep and Medicine calls for elimination of daylight saving time, citing health risks

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine believes people would benefit from eliminating daylight saving time, according to a position statement published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine on Aug. 27.

The AASM contended that a switch to permanent standard time would put a stop to what they called dangerous impacts that have been correlated to daylight saving time.

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“The position statement also cites evidence of increased risks of motor vehicle accidents, cardiovascular events, and mood disturbances following the annual ‘spring forward’ to daylight saving time,“ the statement continued.

Other highlighted short-term negative impacts that daylight saving time has on human health included a range of ailments, like an increased risk of stroke, increased production of inflammatory markers, stress and overall loss of sleep.

The statement also included studies that show evidence of increased traffic fatalities, as much as a 6%, within the first few days following the change to daylight saving time.

“There is ample evidence of the negative, short-term consequences of the annual change to daylight saving time in the spring,” said AASM President Dr. Kannan Ramar. “Because the adoption of permanent standard time would be beneficial for public health and safety, the AASM will be advocating at the federal level for this legislative change.”

According to the AASM, a standard time “more closely aligns with the daily rhythms of the body’s internal clock.”

“Permanent, year-round standard time is the best choice to most closely match our circadian sleep-wake cycle,” said lead author Dr. M. Adeel Rishi, a pulmonology, sleep medicine and critical care specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and vice chair of the AASM Public Safety Committee. “Daylight saving time results in more darkness in the morning and more light in the evening, disrupting the body’s natural rhythm.”

The AASM conducted a survey in July of 2,007 adults in the U.S., asking if they would support the elimination of daylight saving time.

According to the survey, 63% supported eliminating seasonal time changes and were in favor of a national, fixed, year-round time.

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In 2019, 2,003 adults in the U.S. were asked how tired they felt after daylight saving time was initiated, and 55% of respondents said they felt extremely or somewhat tired.

Additionally, a poll conducted by the Associated Press in 2019 found that 7 in 10 Americans prefer not to switch back and forth to mark daylight saving time.

According to the poll, 4 in 10 Americans would like to see their clocks stay on standard time year-round, while about 3 in 10 prefer to stay on daylight saving time. About another 3 in 10 prefer what is the status quo in most of the U.S., switching back and forth between daylight saving time in the summer and standard time in the winter.

At least seven state legislatures have backed asking Congress to allow year-round daylight saving time in the past few years — and about 60% of California voters supported a ballot proposition in 2018 calling for such a move.

States like Hawaii and Arizona are the only ones where clocks don’t change, while most others have done the “spring forward” and “fall back” switches since Congress passed the Uniform Time Act in 1966.

The following organizations have endorsed the AASM position statement to eliminate daylight saving time:

  • American Academy of Cardiovascular Sleep Medicine
  • American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine
  • American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST)
  • American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
  • California Sleep Society
  • Dakotas Sleep Society
  • Kentucky Sleep Society
  • Maryland Sleep Society
  • Michigan Academy of Sleep Medicine
  • Missouri Sleep Society
  • National PTA
  • National Safety Council
  • Society for Research on Biological Rhythms
  • Society of Anesthesia and Sleep Medicine
  • Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine
  • Southern Sleep Society
  • Start School Later
  • Tennessee Sleep Society
  • Wisconsin Sleep Society
  • World Sleep Society

The Associated Press contributed to this report.