When daylight saving time ends on Sunday, millions of Americans will get an extra hour of sleep but lose sunshine in the late afternoon. State legislators around the nation are working to end the century-old custom of changing the clock twice a year, despite the fact that some may question why we still do it.
Since 2018, legislation to eliminate the twice-yearly time shift has been enacted or considered by almost all states. Furthermore, data from the National Conference of State Legislatures shows that 19 states have approved resolutions or ordinances endorsing year-round daylight saving time.
There is a catch, though: Until Congress fixes a statute from the 1960s that prevents such action, nothing will change.
President Woodrow Wilson signed the Standard Time Act into law in 1918 with the idea that more daylight hours would reduce energy expenses during World War I. As a result, the United States has been following daylight saving time ever since. Then, over 50 years later, states that observe daylight saving time were required to utilize the same start and finish dates by the Uniform Time Act of 1966. According to the legislation, unless Congress first votes to amend the federal law, states are not allowed to observe daylight saving time year-round.
States may, however, abstain from changing the clock by continuing to observe standard time throughout the year. As a result, a number of states, including Hawaii, the majority of Arizona, and the U.S. territory of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico, do not follow daylight saving time.
Over the last half-decade, there has been a renewed movement to keep the clocks from shifting. Florida enacted the Sunshine Protection Act in 2018, which will require the state to observe perpetual daylight saving time if permitted by federal law. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., suggested a nationwide Sunshine Protection Act at the federal level, which would make daylight saving time the permanent year-round time across the country, with exceptions for communities that do not currently observe daylight saving time. The bill was unanimously passed by the Senate in 2022, but it died in the House previous session. Rubio reintroduced the bill in March.
States that favor permanent daylight saving time, such as Ohio, claim that the extra daylight reduces crime, automobile accidents, and energy usage while providing more time for outdoor play.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine is a medical organization whose members push for legislation that promote better sleep health. The academy issued a statement on Tuesday urging the United States to abandon daylight saving time entirely, claiming that regular time better promotes health and safety since it fits with people’s natural circadian cycle.
The biggest worries are raised by the time change itself. According to research, occupational injuries, vehicle collision mortality, and heart attack risk have all increased after the “spring forward” time shift. According to one 2023 study, respondents reported increased discomfort with sleep and higher rates of sleeplessness a week following the time shift.
Daylight saving time will be reinstated on March 10, 2024.