This past winter has been a rough one for our mental health — there’s already a subgenre on TikTok about the great depressive episode many of us experienced from January to February of 2022. Part of that was because of Omicron but there’s no denying that the sun disappearing at 5 pm or earlier, depending on where you live, seriously fucks with our minds.
That’s why so many of us were excited earlier this week when the Senate unanimously voted to make daylight saving time, which is when they move the clock forward one hour, permanent by November 2023, effectively giving us more sunlight each winter. Finally, all sides of the political spectrum could agree on the fact that short days aren't working for any of us and now the legislation just has to go through the House and President Biden to become law, per the Washington Post.
But sleep experts are claiming that we got it all wrong. Shortly after the Senate’s decision, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine warned against making daylight saving permanent and pointed out that it should actually be standard time that should be applied year-round. That’s because standard time aligns more closely with our natural circadian rhythm, which is our body’s internal clock that affects our physical, mental, and behavioral health.
The Academy of Sleep Medicine noted that the switch from standard time to daylight saving each year lead to “increased risk of adverse cardiovascular events, mood disorders, and motor vehicle crashes,” per the statement that was endorsed by several sleep-related organizations. So basically, the keepers of sound sleep are trying to save us from restless nights and chaos — even if it means sacrificing a little more sunlight.
Although it’s not what any of us want to hear, I do think that it’s important to consider the science and weigh our options more carefully. Although I’ll be the first in line for more hours of sun, experts are simply calling for more debate before this legislation becomes law. Although I’m not necessarily rooting for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s success since I desperately need more serotonin during the winter, it’s only fair we hear them out.