63% of Americans Support Ending Daylight Saving Time, Survey Finds

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Key Takeaways

  •  A majority of Americans support the elimination of daylight saving time
  • Springing the clock forward an hour in March has been linked to an increase in heart attacks, strokes, car accidents, and a decrease in work and school performance
  • Sleep experts recommend staying in standard time year-round to allow for a natural and consistent sleep circadian rhythm

On Sunday, November 6, most states turn back the clocks and put daylight saving time to rest for the year, returning to standard time. Falling back an hour on the first Sunday in November and springing forward an hour on the second Sunday in March has been a mindless routine that many of us have abided by our entire lives, but a new survey shows many Americans are in favor of eliminating daylight saving time.

In a 2,007-person online survey conducted by the The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) in July 2020, 63% of participants said they'd welcome the elimination of daylight saving time in favor of a fixed, year-round time schedule. 

The cohort most enthusiastically throwing their support behind fixed standard time? Parents. Three out of four parents who responded to the survey said they support of the idea of eliminating seasonal time changes, compared to just over half of respondents with no children.

Younger participants—ages 18 through 24—were most likely to be neutral regarding whether or not daylight saving time continues.

Health Implications of a Time Change

Changing our sleep cycle twice a year can create a multitude of health consequences. In a recent position statement, AASM says the transition back to daylight saving time in the spring—and resulting loss of an hour of sleep—brings about significant public health and safety concerns, including an increase of heart attacks, mood disorders and motor vehicle accidents.

Due to these risk factors, AASM has concluded that seasonal time changes should be eliminated, and a return to a year-round standard time should be implemented.  

With daylight saving time, we are giving up an hour of sleep,” Rafael Pelayo, MD, clinical professor and sleep specialist for Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine, tells Verywell. “But our brain doesn’t allow us to go to bed an hour earlier, and that leaves us in a bad place. It can take up to five days to adapt to the new sleep schedule.” 

According to AASM, the delay of the natural light/dark cycle affects the human circadian rhythm.

“The transition to daylight saving time in the spring appears to be more detrimental to our health,” Sara M. Abbott, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Neurology (sleep medicine) at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, tells Verywell via email. "The transition in March requires you to move one hour earlier and results in the loss of one hour of sleep. It has been associated with an increase in heart attacks, strokes, car crashes, as well as a decrease in work and school performance. The fall transition, where you are required to move an hour later and gain an hour of sleep, does not seem to have as many negative health consequences.” 

Should We Cancel Daylight Saving Time?

As researchers began to investigate the effects of daylight saving time on our health—our sleep, in particular—the idea of discontinuing the semiannual ritual came to light. 

“Daylight saving time was created due to economics," says Pelayo, who is also the author of How to Sleep: The New Science-Based Solutions for Sleeping Through the Night. “The economic gains are no longer there. It is giving us real-life health issues. It is pointless to do anymore.” 

Daylight saving time was established by Congress in 1918 as part of the war effort to conserve energy. It was officially made a law in 1966 under the Uniform Time Act. Hawaii and Arizona, due to geographical location (Hawaii is close to the equator and Arizona gets plenty of sunlight and heat with standard time) chose not to participate in the Uniform Time Act.

States are also starting to take notice. According to the Congressional Research Service document on daylight saving time, eleven states have initiated permanent daylight saving time legislation since 2018. California passed Proposition 7 in 2018, which allows the state to seek approval from Congress to permanently stay in daylight saving time. In 2019, Florida Senator Mark Rubio introduced The Sunshine Protection Act to permanently keep daylight saving time nationwide. 

What This Means For You

A disruption in your sleep cycle twice a year can cause negative health consequences. Plan ahead and keep a consistent sleep schedule during the time change as best you can.

How to Prepare for the Clock Change

Since the national debate on daylight saving time won’t be concluded anytime soon, what can we do to help minimize sleep deprivation when the time comes to change the clock? The trustworthy The Old Farmer’s Almanac has given us some good tips to prepare.

  • Keep the same sleep schedule. Make sure to go to bed and get up at the same time as usual. This helps your body adjust to the time change faster.
  • Adopt good habits before bedtime. Limit caffeine in the afternoon, exercise earlier in the day, put away your electronics before bed, take a warm shower, dim the lights, and read a non-suspenseful book to help you relax.
  • Have a consistent dinnertime. Eating dinner earlier, not overeating, and consuming more protein and fewer carbohydrates during dinner can help your body prepare for bedtime.
  • Soak up that sunshine. On the Sunday morning after the time change, soak up some sunlight to help regulate your internal clock. Shorter daylight hours can affect your energy level and mood.
  • Take a short nap. If you’re having trouble sleeping, take a short nap during the day to help you catch up on those missed hours.
  • Plan ahead. If your body dreads the time change, gradually change your bedtime 15-20 min earlier over two to three days before you change your clock.

Correction: A previous version of this article published on October 13 stated proposed legislation and the AASM's position statement were in conflict with one another. However, both have the same goal of eliminating a seasonal time change, just in different ways.

1 Source
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Rishi MA, Ahmed O, Barrantes Perez JH, et al. Daylight saving time: an American Academy of Sleep Medicine position statement [published online ahead of print, 2020 Aug 26]. J Clin Sleep Med. 2020;16(10). doi:10.5664/jcsm.8780

By Amy Isler, RN, MSN, CSN
Amy Isler, RN, MSN, CSN, is a registered nurse with over six years of patient experience. She is a credentialed school nurse in California.