The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) opposes the Sunshine Protection Act (S. 623), which was passed by the Senate in March and would establish permanent daylight saving time in the United States in November 2023. The AASM supports permanent standard time, which evidence has shown is the better option for the health of American citizens.
The AASM supports the elimination of the biannual time changes in March and November in favor of a national, fixed, year-round time in the United States. However, as described in an AASM daylight saving time position statement published in 2020, standard time aligns best with human circadian biology and provides distinct benefits for public health and safety. The AASM board of directors discussed its opposition to S. 623, and expressed support for permanent standard time, during its recent visit to Capitol Hill.
“Standard time is a better option than daylight saving time for our health, mood and well-being,” said AASM president Raman Malhotra, MD, in a release. “By aligning our clock time more closely with the timing of the sun, standard time helps synchronize our bodies with our natural environment, which is optimal for our daytime functioning and nighttime sleep.”
The AASM recently signed on to a letter with the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms and the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine, urging the Department of Transportation to respond to the request from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce for an analysis of the impact of seasonal time changes. The letter also urged the House of Representatives to allow for more discussion of this important issue, following the example of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which held a hearing on March 9. AASM member Beth Malow, MD, MS, a neurologist and sleep medicine physician at Vanderbilt University, testified at that hearing about why standard time is better for our health and well-being. Such a discussion did not happen in the Senate, where S. 623 was passed without opportunity for a legislative hearing.
The AASM agrees that it is time to stop the biannual time change, but it is also essential to recognize that permanent daylight saving time will have serious unintended consequences, as it did when it was enacted in 1973 and repealed less than a year later. The AASM believes that permanent standard time is the best option for our health.