WashU professor says it’s time to hit the snooze button on Daylight Saving Time

Missouri

ST. LOUIS – Sunday marks the end of Daylight Saving Time. Clocks will be set back one hour Sunday morning at 2 a.m.

For the past two years, a Washington University sleep expert has been president of the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms.

“Which is the world’s largest organization of scientists, and physicians, and industry representatives, working on what wakes us up and puts us to sleep,” said Erik Herzog, Washington University Professor of Biology in Arts and Sciences.

“That society put out a position saying we should live under permanent standard time.” 

For years, Herzog has kept his eyes on the ticking hands of time. Studying the importance of the sun on our biological clocks to get us moving in the morning. 

“In general, during standard time people are living according to sun time,” Herzog said. “But then when we switch to Daylight Saving Time, there’s evidence to suggest people are more reliant on their alarm clocks to get up because the mornings are dark. And using the alarm clock means we’re waking up unnaturally.” 

A 2020 study published in the National Library of Medicine, found a six percent increase in motor vehicle accidents following the Daylight Saving change. Attributed to sleep deprivation and circadian misalignment. 

States like Hawaii and Arizona have done away with Daylight Saving Time, instead following Standard Time. Nineteen states are looking into similar measures. 

“There are a couple of bills being considered in the state of Missouri but most of them connect Missouri to neighboring states,” Herzog said. “If neighboring states were to switch to Daylight Saving Time, Missouri would go along with them.”

“The problem with that there’s a federal law that says federal law has to be changed to allow a state to change to permanent daylight saving time. So, if that were to happen to Missouri, nothing would change until federal law changed.”  

In the meantime, don’t forget to move your clocks back an hour this weekend, and give yourself a few days to get adjusted to the time change.

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