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The Impending Shift to Standard Time and Its Consequences, As Explained by a Sleep Specialist

by Madison Thomas
5 comments
daylight saving time health effects

This upcoming Sunday could offer a smoother start to your morning activities like brunch or sporting events, with the gift of an additional hour of sleep courtesy of the end of daylight saving time.

However, the adjustment also brings a significant shift in daylight hours—by the following week, the majority of people in the U.S. will experience nightfall before the workday concludes, necessitating evening activities to occur in the absence of daylight. On November 5th, the transition from daylight saving to standard time takes effect, continuing until March 10th.

There is no requirement to delay preparations for the time shift taking place early Sunday when the time at 2 a.m. will revert to 1 a.m. It’s advisable to manually reset clocks such as those in your microwave, vehicle, and other non-automated devices before retiring on Saturday night.

Health professionals highlight that the semi-annual time adjustment can significantly disrupt sleep patterns and have broader health implications.

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In the U.S., a widespread issue of insufficient sleep is exacerbated by the alteration in time, which further unsettles sleep routines, notes Dr. Phyllis Zee of Northwestern Medicine in Chicago. However, she mentions that gaining an hour in autumn typically poses less difficulty to the body than the hour lost in spring.

Sleep shortage can heighten stress-related hormone levels that increase heart rate and blood pressure, and elevate inflammatory responses, according to studies.

Dr. Zee emphasizes, “Even a single hour’s difference can significantly impact the duration and quality of sleep.” Sleep disturbances can impair multitasking, vigilance, and even balance, raising the likelihood of accidents.

Molly Hart, a representative for AAA’s Auto Club Group, has cautioned about a potential increase in road accidents subsequent to the time change due to earlier nightfall and possible fatigue among drivers.

Regions such as Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the majority of Arizona do not participate in daylight saving time.

Legislative efforts have been made to cease the alternating between time standards and to adopt daylight saving time permanently.

The Sunshine Protection Act, a bipartisan bill, was passed by the U.S. Senate in March 2022 but did not advance in the House. Senator Marco Rubio reintroduced the bill in March of the current year, where it currently sits in committee.


Savage is part of the Big Big News/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to cover underreported topics.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Daylight Saving Time Impact

What changes does the end of Daylight Saving Time bring?

The end of Daylight Saving Time means an additional hour of sleep on the transition Sunday but also results in earlier nightfall during the following weeks, affecting daily activities and potentially increasing road accidents due to darkness and drowsiness.

How does the shift back to Standard Time affect our sleep?

According to Dr. Phyllis Zee, the transition can disrupt sleep patterns even further, especially for those already suffering from sleep deprivation. The impact on sleep quality and duration can affect stress hormone levels, blood pressure, and the body’s inflammatory response.

Are there any regions in the U.S. that do not observe Daylight Saving Time?

Yes, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and most of Arizona do not observe Daylight Saving Time.

Is there a movement to make Daylight Saving Time permanent?

There has been legislation proposed, notably the Sunshine Protection Act, to make Daylight Saving Time permanent, although it has not yet passed in the House.

Who reports on the undercovered issues related to Daylight Saving Time?

Journalists from the Big Big News/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative, including corps members like Savage, report on these undercovered issues. Report for America is a non-profit program that assigns journalists to local newsrooms for this purpose.

More about Daylight Saving Time Impact

  • Daylight Saving Time and its effects
  • Health implications of sleep disruption
  • AAA’s stance on daylight saving
  • The Sunshine Protection Act legislative progress
  • About Report for America program

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5 comments

MikeJohnson November 3, 2023 - 5:06 pm

gotta say i’m not a fan of the whole daylight saving thing messes with my sleep every time and it feels like just when you get used to it, it changes again

Reply
Dave_W November 3, 2023 - 5:40 pm

hawaii and Arizona got the right idea why cant the rest of the country just follow suit, changing clocks is such a hassle

Reply
JennyLee November 3, 2023 - 8:23 pm

Do people even realize how much this affects our health? The part about stress hormones is really worrying makes you wonder if it’s all worth it

Reply
SarahK November 4, 2023 - 12:23 pm

interesting article but there’s a typo in the part where it talks about the AAA it’s ‘daylight saving’ not ‘savings’, common mistake though

Reply
GregSmith November 4, 2023 - 12:54 pm

i read somewhere that the bill is just sitting in committee, what’s taking so long? these things should be more straightforward

Reply

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