While the U.S. Senate voted this year to establish a permanent daylight saving time, the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates is instead recommending a permanent change to standard time.
Standard time is healthier and more natural, according to the AMA and other experts, including the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
“For far too long, we’ve changed our clocks in pursuit of daylight, while incurring public health and safety risks in the process. Committing to standard time has health benefits and allows us to end the biannual tug of war between our biological and alarm clocks,” AMA Trustee Alexander Ding, M.D., said in an AMA news release.
Twenty states have endorsed the bill establishing permanent daylight saving time, but the U.S. House of Representatives has not yet voted on it. To become law, both the Senate and House would have to approve and the president would have to sign it.
Standard time shifts daylight hours earlier in the morning, best aligning with the human body clock, according to sleep experts. Daylight saving time shifts daylight hours to evening. The sudden change to daylight saving time each March is associated with significant public health and safety risks, including increased risks for heart problems, mood disorders, and motor vehicle crashes, according to the AMA. The statement notes that some studies have suggested the human body clock fails to adjust to daylight saving time even after a few months.
“Eliminating the time changes in March and November would be a welcome change. But research shows permanent daylight saving time overlooks potential health risks that can be avoided by establishing permanent standard time instead,” Ding said. “Sleep experts are alarmed. Issues other than patient health are driving this debate. It’s time that we wake up to the health implications of clock setting.”
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