The Return to Standard Time

By Christine J. Flores, CBA

The first Sunday in November, at 2:00 a.m., marks the return to Standard Time in the United States.  There are some who look forward to that extra hour of sleep.  And then there’s a few like me who already miss the longer evenings.  While the longer evenings are something to be enjoyed, Daylight Savings Time makes for much darker winter mornings.  One cannot help but wonder if there is any benefit to setting our clocks an hour back for Standard Time.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s experts advocate for permanent Standard time.  These experts cite the following key reasons:

  • Standard time matches our body’s internal clock. The daily cycle of natural light and darkness is a powerful timing cue for our body’s internal clock.  When we receive more light in the morning and more darkness in the evening, our bodies and nature are in better alignment, which makes it easier to wake up for daily activities, and to fall asleep at night.  According to these experts, Daylight Saving Time disrupts the body’s natural circadian rhythms and impacts sleep, while Standard Time allows the body a better opportunity to get the right duration of high-quality restful sleep.  Better sleep improves our cognition, mood, cardiovascular health and well-being.
  • Standard time ensures more light and promotes safety in the morning. The dark mornings caused by permanent Daylight Saving Time pose numerous safety concerns for commuters and children heading to school.  More darkness during early morning commutes could contribute to an increased risk of traffic accidents and fatalities.
  • Permanent Daylight Saving Time would have more effect on those in the northern part of the U.S. If the U.S. adopted permanent Daylight Saving Time, some parts of Montana, North Dakota and Michigan would not see sunrise until after 9:30 a.m. in the winter.  New York City would see the sun rise at 8:20 a.m., while in Los Angeles the sun would rise at 8:00 a.m.
  • The U.S. has already tried permanent Daylight Saving Time. During a nationwide energy crisis, the U.S. attempted to adopt permanent daylight saving time in 1973.  This was an attempt at reducing the nation’s energy consumption.  Parents had concerns for the safety of their school-aged children who had to walk to school or wait for a bus in the dark.  The daylight saving time experiment was intended to last two years, but after only eight months, Congress reverted the nation to Standard Time in the Fall of 1974 because permanent Daylight Saving Time was so unpopular.
  • Seasonal time changes are dangerous. Dangerous health and safety consequences have been linked to seasonal time changes.  These consequences include an increased risk of stroke and hospital admissions, increased production of inflammatory markers (one of the body’s responses to stress); increased medical errors, cardiovascular events and mood disturbances.  It has been suggested that the chronic effects of Daylight Saving Time may lead to a higher risk of health problems.  There are those experts who believe that by adopting standard time permanently on a national scale, we can all reap the benefits of better overall health and an enhanced sense of safety.

Hawaii, most of Arizona, and the U.S. territories observe permanent Standard Time.  However, the Uniform Time Act forbids the observation of permanent Daylight Saving time.  Unfortunately, the efforts to make Daylight Savings Time permanent have not made this happen.  So for now, we continue to Fall Back and Spring Forward.

For more information regarding the effect that Daylight Saving Time has on the body, and the studies suggesting the positive benefit of remaining on Standard Time year-round, please visit  Visit for information on sleep disorders and tips for better sleep.

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