Springing forward isn’t the healthiest choice

Published 12:00 pm Saturday, March 11, 2023

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It’s that time again.

Here in the Miss-Lou we’re springing forward to Daylight Saving Time as Standard Time officially comes to an end at 2 a.m. Sunday.

We’ll lose an hour of sleep, but many people will gladly trade that hour for the extra hour of sunlight we can enjoy each day until Daylight Saving Time ends, in November.

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And then we gain that hour back, and start the cycle all over.

Of course, like most Americans, we think it’s time for that cycle to end.

A poll conducted in October 2021 found that most people in the United States want to avoid switching between daylight saving and standard time, though there is no consensus behind which should be used all year.

The poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found only 25% of those questioned said they preferred to switch back and forth between Standard and Daylight Saving Time. Forty-three percent said they would like to see Standard time used during the entire year. Thirty-two percent said they would prefer that Daylight Saving Time be used all year.

The U.S. Senate has passed a bill which would opt-in to permanent Daylight Saving Time, and 20 states already have similar laws on their books.

But year-round Daylight Saving Time comes at a cost, as well.

Health experts and scientists have long argued that permanent Standard Time is more beneficial to us. In 2022, the American Medical Association decried the long-standing practice of changing “our clocks in pursuit of daylight, while incurring public health and safety risks in the process.”  Sleep experts say Standard Time, which shifts daylight hours to the morning, aligns best with human circadian rhythms. Moreover, the forced shift from Standard Time to Daylight Saving Time each March brings an increased risk of cardiovascular events, mood disorders and even motor vehicle crashes.

The smarter option, based on biology and proven science, would be to maintain Standard Time year-round.

It may not be as popular, particularly in areas like the Miss-Lou where we love our long summer evenings, but it would be smarter. And healthier.

So, this weekend, we’ll once again begrudgingly spring forward … with the hope that one day we can as a country make a smarter choice.