- Most of the U.S. will set their clocks one hour ahead when Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday, March 12.
- Time change is associated with increased traffic accidents, strokes, and hospital admissions.
- Experts recommend abolishing Daylight Saving Time in favor of permanent standard time.
It’s time once again to “spring forward” this Sunday, March 12, as most of the United States prepares for Daylight Saving Time. While there are some perks—more light in the evenings, lower energy use (and costs)—there are downsides as well, particularly pertaining to your health, which is why the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends the annual time change be abolished in favor of a permanent standard time.
The organization outlined numerous health risks associated with Daylight Saving Time, including increased traffic fatalities in the first few days following the time change and the misalignment with our bodies’ natural circadian biology.
“Mounting evidence shows the dangers of seasonal time changes, which have been linked to increased medical errors, motor vehicle accidents, increased hospital admissions, and other problems,” Jennifer Martin, a licensed clinical psychologist and president of the AASM, said in a press release. “Restoring permanent, year-round standard time is the best option for our health and well-being.”
Other risks attributed to Daylight Saving Time include:
- Increased risk of cardiovascular events and mood disturbances
- Increased risk of stroke and hospital admissions
- Increased production of inflammatory proteins, which help the body respond to stress
- Increased safety-related incidents involving patients in the week following Daylight Saving Time
Springing forward has also been found to have adverse effects on teenagers, with one study showing that teens were sleepier and had slower reaction times and a harder time paying attention in school.
“After the time change, waking up can be difficult—especially for kids and teens,” Martin continued. “Planning ahead and adjusting your sleep schedule before the change to daylight saving time can help your body adapt and reduce the negative effects of the time change.”
To better adjust to Daylight Saving Time, experts recommend:
- At least seven hours of sleep before and after the time change
- Shifting bedtimes and wake-up times by 15 to 20 minutes earlier a few nights before the time change
- Changing your mealtimes, or other “time cues” for your body, accordingly
- Setting your clocks ahead one hour early in the evening the night before the time change and going to sleep at your normal bedtime
- Going outside for early morning sunlight the week following the time change to help your internal clock shift to the new time
Although the U.S. Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act in 2022 to establish permanent daylight saving time, the AASM opposes the bill and is urging Congress to consider permanent standard time instead.
“I’m glad that there is growing support to end seasonal time changes, and I hope that lawmakers will prioritize health and safety by adopting year-round standard time, which best aligns with the body’s internal clock,” said Martin.
Learn how to navigate and strengthen trust in your business with The Trust Factor, a weekly newsletter examining what leaders need to succeed. Sign up here.