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Daylight Savings Time Debate

Daylight Saving Time is coming up on Sunday, bringing up the age-old question of if we should stop changing the clocks. Some U.S. senators this month re-introducing a bill that would make Daylight Saving Time permanent all year long.

Douglas Braff spoke with a medical expert about the impacts surrounding this.

Whenever the Daylight Saving Time debate periodically crops up, it’s not uncommon that those on both sides bring up the health effects of switching the clocks twice a year.

To give some context, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.) this month re-introduced legislation called the “Sunshine Protection Act.” The Senate passed it unanimously one year ago, but it never came up for a vote in the House of Representatives.

The bill would end the practice of changing the clocks twice a year. This is something that two U.S. states have already done, like Hawaii and most of Arizona. The Sunshine Protection Act of 2023 would make Daylight Saving Time permanent: The way the clocks will be, starting Sunday, Mar. 12.

Mount Nittany Medical Center hospitalist physician Marina Jeffery says that circadian rhythm is key to this discussion, and it has to do with bright light exposure we get throughout the day.

“With Daylight Saving Time between March and November, your body is exposed to less morning light and more evening light.”

Messing with the clocks can mess with our internal clocks, making us feel more tired.

“In particular, it can affect late risers, So, for example, teenagers and anyone who likes to wake up later on in the day.”

But permanent Daylight Saving Time would fit the routines of some people, like hunters.

Tom Engel, the owner of Hunters Warehouse in Bellefonte, tells us he thinks hunters would love it because of the extra hour.

“Say, in December and deer season, we’re done hunting by 4:30pm. It would be pretty cool to extend that So, we’re done in— instead of being 4:30pm, we’ll be done at 5pm and sometimes we’ll even be done at 6pm, depending on the shooting hours.”

Though, Engel points out that you can only shoot during the designated shooting hours, even if the sun’s out.

That ties in to a common critique of such a policy proposal: that folks especially in the northern U.S. would wake up in the dark, depending on the time of year.

While it’s not clear where this proposal will go, Jeffery has some advice.

“When we’re going to make a switch, rather than sort of doing that one-hour switch all at once, sometimes I’ll tell people to sort of doing it in 15-minute increments for the four days prior to the change.”

Jeffery mentions that a number of medical societies do think we should scrap changing the clocks twice a year. However, where these societies differ from the proposed Sunshine Protection Act, is that they support permanent Standard Time as opposed to Daylight Saving Time.


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