Sleep experts say don't make Daylight Saving Time permanent

As America is on the verge of making Daylight Saving Time permanent, sleep experts say it's a bad idea.

The U.S. Senate voted unanimously Tuesday for the Sunshine Protection Act, or S.623, sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. If enacted into law, the measure would eliminate the changing of clocks to standard time. 

Americans would no longer "fall back" in November.

While keeping a uniform time is widely accepted by sleep experts, they are calling for adopting a year-round standard time, not eliminating it.

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"Making daylight saving time permanent overlooks potential health risks that can be avoided by establishing permanent standard time instead," wrote the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

The Academy goes on to say that "current evidence best supports the adoption of year-round standard time, which aligns best with human circadian biology and provides distinct benefits for public health and safety."

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Under federal law, Daylight Saving Time begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November. 

The point of setting the clocks back is to give an extra hour of daylight in the afternoon while having an hour less of daylight in the morning. The goal is to conserve energy with more daylight during the hours when most people are active, although some studies have found little energy savings.

Dr. Amneet Sandhu, cardiology fellow, University of Colorado in Denver, and lead investigator of one sleep study examined 42,000 hospital admissions and found that an average of 32 patients had heart attacks on any given Monday. But on the Monday after moving the clock forward, there was an average of eight additional heart attacks.

Also, disrupting the circadian rhythm, as happens with Daylight Saving Time, has been associated with increased risks of obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and depression.

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"Unfortunately, today’s quick action by the Senate allowed for neither a robust discussion nor a debate. We call on the House to take more time to assess the potential ramifications of establishing permanent daylight saving time before making such an important decision that will affect all Americans," wrote the AASM.

The proposed bill will now move to the House. If House members approve, it would then go to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.