Permanently moving to daylight saving time is likely to cause more harm than good when it comes to our health, sleep science indicates.
For years, researchers have bemoaned the biannual changing of the clocks, saying shifting just one hour is linked to a slew of negative health effects, including an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. But when the U.S. Senate recently passed a bill to make daylight saving time permanent, sleep experts became more alarmed.
Legislators picked the wrong time, they say.
Our internal clocks are connected to the sun, which aligns more closely with permanent standard time, says Muhammad Adeel Rishi, a pulmonologist and sleep physician at Indiana University. When the clocks spring forward, our internal clocks don’t change but are forced to follow society’s clock rather than the sun. DST is like permanent social jet lag.
Dr. Rishi is one of the authors of a 2020 position statement from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, a professional society, supporting making standard time—not daylight-saving time—permanent.
“Of the three choices—permanent daylight-saving time, permanent standard time or where we are now, which is switching between the two—I think permanent DST is the worst solution,” says Phyllis Zee, professor of neurology and director of the Center for Circadian and Sleep Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.