More than half of Americans say they’re tired after the time change, and 63% of Americans say that they support the elimination of seasonal time changes in favor of a national, fixed, year-round time. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), research supports public opposition to seasonal time changes, and sleep science suggests that permanent standard time is the best option.
Research shows that the time change can disrupt your internal clock and impair your sleep quality. This disruption in your sleep/wake pattern can have dangerous consequences, including an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents, medical errors, cardiovascular events, and mood disturbances.
The AASM supports eliminating seasonal time changes and adopting permanent standard time for improved public health and safety. A recent position statement explains that standard time more closely aligns with the body’s internal clock. The AASM and supporting organizations representing health, safety, and education are advocating for permanent standard time legislation.
“Daylight saving time increases our morning exposure to darkness and evening exposure to sunlight, the most powerful timing cue for the human body clock,” says Shannon Sullivan, MD, chair of the AASM Public Safety Committee and clinical professor of sleep medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, in a release. “The time change causes misalignment between the body’s daily rhythm and the clock, making it harder to fall asleep at night, disrupting sleep quality, and leading to sleep loss which can negatively impact health and safety.”
Studies have found an increase in car accidents during the week following the change to daylight saving time. In addition to the obvious sleep loss, other negative effects include increased risk of stroke and hospital admissions, and increased production of inflammatory markers. A recently published study found an 18.7% increase in patient safety-related incidents associated with human error in the week following the transition into and out of daylight saving time.