Mar 8, 2024 - News

Here's why sleep experts favor standard time

Illustration of a classic analog alarm clock reading 10:00 with shifty, heavy eyes inside the digits

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

We "spring ahead" to daylight saving time Sunday at 2am, even though many sleep experts wish we wouldn't.

Why it matters: Members of health groups favor standard time over daylight saving time, because they say it's more aligned with our body clocks.

  • Lawmakers across the country — including in Oregon — have pushed state and federal legislation in a bid to quit the back-and-forth time hops.

State of play: On Monday, the Oregon Senate narrowly approved a bill to make standard time permanent — a switch from a 2019 measure to keep daylight saving time year-round — but only if fellow West Coast states follow suit.

  • The measure, SB 1548, is now in the House for consideration but is likely to die because the short legislative session ends Sunday.
  • Five years ago, the Washington Legislature approved a measure to make daylight saving time permanent if federal law changed to allow it. In 2018, voters in California approved a switch, but the measure needed legislative approval. It died twice in committee.

Zoom in: For the time being, the twice-yearly switch remains. That means sunrise during daylight saving time in Portland starting Sunday will go from 6:33am to 7:33am, and sunset will move from 6:11pm to 7:11pm.

What they're saying: "Research shows that the abrupt seasonal shift in time disrupts circadian rhythms, leading to sleep disturbances, increased fatigue and even a heightened risk of heart attacks and strokes," James A. Rowley, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, told Axios.

  • He adds that right after the clocks change, there's "a spike in workplace accidents, road accidents and medical errors due to sleep deprivation and cognitive impairment."

To avoid the abrupt hour of sleep loss on Sunday, sleep experts recommend that you gradually adjust bedtime and daily activities — like mealtimes and exercise routines — to 15-20 minutes earlier, starting a few nights before the clocks switch.

  • Set the clock ahead one hour Saturday night, and then go to bed at your "normal" time, to get ahead of the change.
  • Go outside in the early morning during the week of the time change to help adjust your internal clock to the new time zone.
  • Aim to get seven or more hours of sleep.
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