Sleep society seeks help in new effort to eliminate daylight saving time change
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine is encouraging health care professionals to ask Congress to hold a hearing on proposed legislation that would establish a permanent standard time nationwide.
“Legislation introduced in Congress would eliminate biannual time changes across the United States in favor of permanent daylight saving time,” Shannon Sullivan, MD, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) public safety committee chair and a pediatric sleep medicine physician at Stanford University School of Medicine, told Healio Primary Care. “This is an issue that impacts all Americans, and given the debate, it is essential that lawmakers hear from experts to make an informed decision.”
According to Sullivan, previous research has linked daylight saving time changes to serious health consequences, including increased rates of myocardial infarction, automobile accidents rates and hospital admissions.
The call to action is the latest step AASM has taken to establish a permanent standard time. In 2020, the society issued a position statement seeking elimination of the biannual clock changes. More than 20 other societies have endorsed the statement, according to an AASM press release. Another effort, a survey the society commissioned last year, indicated that 63% of Americans are in favor of abolishing the process of “springing forward” and “falling back.”
Those who want to ask Congress to hold the hearing can fill out an online form on AASM’s website. Once the form is completed, it is automatically sent to the petitioners’ U.S. House representative and U.S. senator, based on their home address. More than 1,000 letters have been submitted to members of Congress, Sullivan said.
She also said clinicians can “educate the public and lawmakers about the health and safety risks associated with the time change.”
If a congressional hearing on having a permanent standard time is scheduled, it would likely be the first of its kind, according to an AASM spokesperson.
Editor's note: This story was updated on April 6, 2021, to clarify that AASM supports making standard time permanent.
AASM. AASM sleep prioritization survey. Elimination of seasonal time changes. https://aasm.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/sleep-prioritization-survey-2020-elimination-seasonal-time-changes-results.pdf. Accessed March 31, 2020.
AASM. AASM supports elimination of daylight saving time change, urges Congress to hold hearing. https://aasm.org/aasm-supports-elimination-daylight-saving-time-change-urges-congress-hold-hearing/. Accessed March 31, 2020.