What Would Happen If We Got Rid of Daylight Saving Time?
Is daylight saving time ending in 2023? Here are the states that are trying to get rid of DTS.
The end of daylight saving time is almost here! We advanced the clocks on Sunday, March 12, and will finally fall back on Sunday, Nov. 5 (hurray!). Once DST concludes at 2 a.m., you’ll be gifted an extra hour, whereas springing forward robbed you of an hour of sleep in the spring.
Though more than 70 countries observe this twice-annual tradition, including the United States, there is a movement underway to do away with DST. Two U.S. states opted out more than 50 years ago, and with the reintroduction of the Sunshine Protection Act of 2023, you might wonder, what states are getting rid of daylight savings time 2023? And what would happen if there were no more daylight savings? Read on to learn more.
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Is daylight saving ending?
As of this writing, daylight saving is not ending across the U.S. In March 2022, the Senate unanimously voted in favor of the Sunshine Protection Act, a bill that would make DST permanent. However, the House of Representatives did not vote on it. Senator Marco Rubio reintroduced the bill to Congress in early March 2023, but we’re still waiting to see if it will move forward.
What states are getting rid of daylight saving time?
So far, only two states, Hawaii and Arizona, have opted out of DST, and that was back in the 1960s—but more changes have happened across the U.S. since. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states, including Florida, Minnesota and Ohio, have passed legislation calling for permanent daylight saving time if allowed (federal law allows states to change to permanent standard time, but not DST). Both Oklahoma and Texas have pending legislation to make standard time permanent, but in each state it has passed in only one of the legislative chambers.
These movements to end DST aren’t just happening in the United States. In 2018, the European Parliament voted to eliminate the biannual clock change; however, no negotiations in the EU Council have started yet. So what would it look like if we all just gave up on changing our clocks?
Why do people want to get rid of daylight saving?
We all know that the day we spring forward into daylight saving time is one of the most unpleasant days of the spring season. Losing an hour of sleep overnight—what could be worse? The groggy morning afterward actually sees a spike in accidents and medical emergencies, which is why many are in favor of ending daylight savings so we don’t have to switch the clocks anymore. Here are the most common reasons people want to get rid of daylight saving time.
Whether you’re changing the clock forward or backward, it can have a negative impact on a person’s circadian rhythm. It can take five to seven days for your body to adjust to the new time schedule, reports the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and the disruption in sleep can lead to even bigger health issues.
Reduced risk of heart issues
Research has found that the spring DST changes are associated with a 24% increase in acute myocardial infarction (AMI) events on the Monday following the change, and that switching our clocks may increase the risk of heart attacks. While the research hasn’t indicated why this may be, those who experienced an increased risk were mostly people who were already predisposed to experiencing heart issues. However, research also shows that heart attacks decrease by 21% the week DST ends in the fall. Still, if more states got rid of daylight saving, it’s possible that more lives could be saved overall.
Reduced risk of stroke
Similarly, research has found an increase in hospitalizations for stroke in the two days following the DST change, with the overall rate of ischemic stroke being 8% higher in those days than at any other time of the year. The American Academy of Neurology speculates this may be because of the disruption in circadian rhythms caused by DST, as previous studies have shown that it can play a part in increasing a person’s risk of stroke.
“A major con that comes with DST is that it’s very costly for companies, since business hours and operations need to adjust every spring,” says Liz Brown, the founder of Sleeping Lucid. In fact, experts estimate the biannual time change costs the United States around $430 million every year. The increase in heart attacks and workplace injuries, plus lowered productivity, are all accounted for in the total cost.
Fewer auto accidents
The changing of the clocks has also been associated with an increase in fatal auto accidents, particularly on the Monday following the spring shift. It’s theorized that these auto accidents occur because of drivers who are tired from losing the hour of sleep after the spring change. If there was no more daylight saving, the number of fatal accidents could be reduced.
Changing crime rates
One other consideration to keep in mind with DST is how it impacts crime levels. Research has found that by extending evening daylight hours, as we do in the spring, crime rates actually go down, with robberies being reduced by 7% from the day before, and overall crime going down by 27% in the additional evening hour of sunlight gained on that day. However, another study found that with the hour of daylight lost in the fall, assault rates were up by 3% on the Monday following the time change.
Daylight saving time vs. standard time: Which is better?
One of the many issues surrounding eliminating DST is whether it’s better to stay on DST or standard time. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine favors getting rid of daylight saving for good, in favor of standard time, stating on its website that “it aligns best with human circadian biology and provides distinct benefits for public health and safety.”
On the other hand, leisure pursuits may be better suited to DST, according to Baron Christopher Hanson of RedBaron Consulting, who lobbies for keeping the clocks at DST. “Extended daylight hours allow outdoor restaurants, golf courses, parks and patio or rooftop bars to see sunsets well past happy hour and into dinner time, as opposed to forcing everyone into dismal darkness earlier.”
Despite the debate, daylight saving time is not ending anytime soon. Most states will still turn their clocks forward and backward for the foreseeable future.
About the experts
- Liz Brown is the founder of Sleeping Lucid. She reviews mattresses, pillows, sheets and more, while keeping readers informed about the latest sleeping trends for humans and animals alike.
- Baron Christopher Hanson is a licensed off-market commercial real estate advisor and the founder of RedBaron Consulting, a management consulting firm in Charleston, South Carolina.
- rubio.senate.gov: “Rubio Reintroduces Bill to Make Daylight Saving Time Permanent”
- BMJ Journals, Interventional Cardiology: “Daylight savings time and myocardial infarction”
- Sleep Medicine: “Changes in ischemic stroke occurrence following daylight saving time transitions”
- American Academy of Neurology: “Does Daylight Saving Time Increase Risk of Stroke?”
- Sleep Medicine: “Fatal Accidents Following Changes in Daylight Savings Time: The American Experience”
- Journal of Experimental Criminology: “Aggression and sleep: a daylight saving time natural experiment on the effect of mild sleep loss and gain on assaults”