Twice a year, our clocks change by an hour. First, we “spring” forward an hour in March and enter Daylight Saving Time (DST). Then, in November, we “fall” back an hour and revert to Standard Time (ST).
What started as a practice primarily to save on energy costs is now a topic for debate as the ill effects of switching between times have sparked calls for one permanent time. The Sunshine Protection Act is a proposed federal law to make DST permanent.1 However, many professionals have pointed out the drawbacks of DST, favoring permanent ST instead.
Here are six pros and cons of permanent DST to consider:
Permanent DST starts the day an hour earlier, meaning increased evening light. Highlighted benefits include:
- Economic gains for commercial businesses like retail and hospitality due to later hours and increased evening customers23
- Predicted decrease in the prevalence of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)45
- Reduced crime rates during the typical peak period around 5 to 8 PM6
While many drawbacks focus on the time shift itself, there are potential issues with permanent DST. Lighter evenings mean darker mornings, which contribute to the following:
- Disrupted sleep because, according to sleep experts, DST goes against our internal clocks, which can result in circadian misalignment and lead to increased health risks7
- Safety concerns for morning commuters and children on their way to school89
- Lower productivity and work output from those who never fully acclimatize to DST10
Alas, until a decision is made, we will continue to switch between DST and ST. Keep an eye on impacted areas such as your vitamin D levels, heart health and general health and wellness with imaware’s easy at-home health tests.
- Sleep Foundation. Latest updates: Daylight saving time in 2023. Accessed October 20, 2023.
- National Geographic. The Politics of Daylight Saving Time. Accessed October 20, 2023.
- CBC. Daylight saving time 2016: How big business benefits from more sunshine. Accessed October 20, 2023.
- Epidemiology. Daylight Savings Time Transitions and the Incidence Rate of Unipolar Depressive Episodes. Accessed October 20, 2023.
- EurekAlert! AAAS. The transition from daylight saving time to standard time leads to depressions. Accessed October 20, 2023.
- Review of Economics and Statistics. Under the Cover of Darkness: How Ambient Light Influences Criminal Activity. Accessed October 20, 2023.
- Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Daylight saving time: an American Academy of Sleep Medicine position statement. Accessed October 20, 2023.
- American Academy of Sleep Medicine. AASM experts advocate for permanent standard time ahead of “fall back.” Accessed October 20, 2023.
- Current Biology. A Chronobiological Evaluation of the Acute Effects of Daylight Saving Time on Traffic Accident Risk. Accessed October 20, 2023.
- National Geographic. Time to Move On? The Case Against Daylight Saving Time. Accessed October 20, 2023.