Daylight Saving Time Disproportionately Impacts Communities Of Color

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine is calling for a permanent standard time.

Daylight Saving Time has a negative impact on communities of color, according to sleep researchers.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society are calling for a permanent standard time. Dr. Beth Malow, professor of neurology and pediatrics and director of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Sleep Division in Nashville, said in a news release, “From a health standpoint, the bulk of evidence supports abolishing our current spring transition to daylight saving time and adopting permanent standard time. Daylight saving time is associated with increased risks of sleep loss, circadian misalignment, and adverse health consequences.”

Chandra Jackson, a researcher and epidemiologist with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, said in a statement, “Poor sleep is associated with a host of poor health outcomes, including obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, including of the breast and colon. Many of these health outcomes are more prevalent in the Black population. Experimental as well as observational studies have linked sleep to these health outcomes. Therefore, sleep could be an important contributor. Fortunately, sleep health is largely modifiable.”

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The government first implemented daylight savings time during World War I and II to save energy for the war effort. Daylight savings in the United States ran from April until mid-October until 2007, when congress adjusted it to begin three weeks earlier and end one week later. Congress hoped the move would save energy costs, but some critics disagree, arguing it would cause issues for airlines and dairy farmers, who said the schedule changes disorient their cows. In March 2022, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Sunshine Protection Act, which would make Daylight Saving Time permanent. However, the legislation must pass in the House before becoming law in November 2023.

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