The American Medical Association Weighs In On The Daylight Saving Versus Standard Time Debate

The American Medical Association's (AMA) House of Delegates signaled its support for scrapping Daylight Saving Time and permanently switching over to Standard Time during an interim meeting on Tuesday, November 15, 2022. This announcement directly clashes with a Senate-approved bill that aims to do the exact opposite by establishing Daylight Saving Time year-round (via HealthDay News). According to the AMA, however, Standard Time is more natural and beneficial for your overall health.

"For far too long, we've changed our clocks in pursuit of daylight, while incurring public health and safety risks in the process," AMA Trustee Dr. Alexander Ding said in an AMA press release, adding that changing to Standard Time would be better for Americans' biological clocks, which can help regulate one's mood, sleep, and cardiovascular health. As a matter of fact, the abrupt change to Daylight Saving Time every March is associated with an increased risk of car accidents, mood disorders, and heart problems. Eliminating this time change, however, could help keep your biological clock stable.

Your body can't adjust to the time change

But how exactly can Daylight Saving Time disrupt your circadian rhythm? According to experts at CNN, having more hours of daylight between March and November can actually cause confusion and throw off the way your body regulates your sleep-wake cycle. "Your body clock stays with (natural) light, not with the clock on your wall. And there's no evidence that your body fully shifts to the new time," Dr. Elizabeth Klerman, a professor of neurology in the division of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School, told CNN. 

As a result, Daylight Saving Time can cause what is known as social jet lag — a condition that can negatively affect your sleep, digestion, metabolism, mood, heart, and even limit your life expectancy. According to Dr. Klerman, the U.S. has already tried to establish a permanent Daylight Saving Time in the past, and ultimately decided against it, as have other countries like India and Russia. "I think we should learn from history," she explained to CNN.