Open letter to the Maryland State Senate’s Education, Health, & Environmental Affairs Committee, submitted 2021 March 3. Citations and visual aids appear at the end.
Dear Honorable Senators,
Please oppose SB-840 and recommend its amendment to permanent Standard Time. Its current form seeks permanent Daylight Saving Time (DST), which history and medicine show is more harmful than clock change. Only permanent Standard Time can improve viral immunity with better sleep, can protect school and work start times with morning sunlight, and is pre-approved by federal law.
Scores of organizations representing thousands of scientists/doctors and millions of teachers/parents oppose permanent DST and endorse permanent Standard Time. Among these are the Maryland Sleep Society, National PTA, National Safety Council, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, Start School Later, and Society for Research on Biological Rhythms.[AASM][CSC][ESRS][SRBR]
Sleep is essential to viral immunity (including COVID),[Meira][Panda][Ray] and for years the CDC has classified sleep deprivation as an epidemic.[Jin] Springing clocks forward to DST acutely deprives sleep. Leaving clocks forward on DST chronically deprives sleep (at an estimated average of 19 minutes nightly). Artificial delay of sunrise by one hour (such as by DST) manifests as statistically significant increases in accidents, illnesses, diseases (certain cancers up 12–36%), and healthcare costs, and as statistically significant decreases in alertness, learning, productivity, and wages (down 3–5%). It’s not just clock change that harms. Longitudinally correct Standard Time preserves morning sunlight, when human biology needs it most.[AASM][Borisenkov][CSC][Curtis][Gibson][Giuntella][Gu][Juda][Roenneberg][SRBR]
The US Uniform Time Act of 1966 permits permanent Standard Time and forbids permanent DST. Scientific polling shows strong public support to end clock change, with slight preference for Standard Time.[AP] History shows support for permanent DST reverses to opposition once its dark mornings are experienced.[BBC][Ripley][Yorkshire]
Permanent DST would delay Maryland’s sunrises to 8:39am, and past 8am for up to 3.4 months. It would undo the benefits of starting school later, and it would disrupt parents’ work schedules.[Cell][Skeldon] Standard Time keeps your sunrises before 8am, when most work and school starts,[CDC][Silver] for healthier sleep, mood, alertness, immunity, and productivity.
Please oppose SB-840 until it is amended to permanent Standard Time — as is federally pre-approved and is best for health, safety, education, and economy.
American Academy of Sleep Medicine (2020). “Call for Elimination of Daylight Saving Time”. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. https://aasm.org/american-academy-of-sleep-medicine-calls-for-elimination-of-daylight-saving-time/
AP-NORC (2019). “DST vs Standard Time”. Center for Public Affairs Research. https://apnorc.org/projects/daylight-saving-time-vs-standard-time/
BBC (2014). “Russia: Putin Abolishes ‘Daylight Savings’ Time Change”. BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-28423647
Borisenkov et al (2016). “Seven-Year Survey of Sleep Timing in Russian Children and Adolescents”. Biological Rhythm Research. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/307547013_Seven-year_survey_of_sleep_timing_in_Russian_children_and_adolescents_chronic_1-h_forward_transition_of_social_clock_is_associated_with_increased_social_jetlag_and_winter_pattern_of_mood_seasonality
Canadian Society for Chronobiology (2019). “Turn Back the Clock on Daylight Savings: Why Standard Time All Year Round Is the Healthy Choice”. The Globe and Mail. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-turn-back-the-clock-on-daylight-savings-why-standard-time-all-year/
Cell Press Staff (2019). “Permanent Daylight Savings May Cancel Out Changes to School Start Times”. EurekAlert!. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-04/cp-pds041819.php
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). “School Start Times for Middle School and High School Students — United States, 2011–12 School Year”. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6430a1.htm
Curtis (2019). “Daylight Saving Time: Harmed by Hands of the Clock”. The Irish Times. https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/daylight-saving-time-harmed-by-hands-of-the-clock-1.4064179
European Sleep Research Society (2018). “Joint Statement”. EU Commission on DST. https://esrs.eu/joint-statement-to-the-eu-commission/
Gibson & Shrader (2015). “Time Use and Productivity: The Wage Returns to Sleep”. Williams College Department of Economics Working Papers. https://econpapers.repec.org/paper/wilwileco/2015-17.htm
Giuntella & Mazzonna (2017). “Sunset Time and the Economic Effects of Social Jetlag Evidence from US Time Zone Borders”. Journal of Health Economics. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0167629618309718
Gu et al (2017). “Longitude Position in a Time Zone and Cancer Risk in the United States”. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. https://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/26/8/1306
Jin & Ziebarth (2019). “Sleep, Health, and Human Capital: Evidence from Daylight Saving Time”. The National Bureau of Economic Research. https://ideas.repec.org/p/yor/hectdg/15-27.html
Juda et al (2019). “An Open Letter to the BC Government in Support of Permanent Standard Time”. Simon Fraser University. https://vault.sfu.ca/index.php/s/sAnv3Z4bcSwY4Gm
Meira e Cruz et al (2020). “Putative contributions of circadian clock and sleep in the context of SARS-CoV-2 infection”. European Respiratory Journal. https://erj.ersjournals.com/content/55/6/2001023
Panda (2020). “Beyond Sanitizing and Social Distancing — A Healthy Circadian Rhythm May Keep You Sane and Increase Resilience to Fight COVID-19”. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/beyond-sanitizing-and-social-distancing-a-healthy-circadian-rhythm-may-keep-you-sane-and-increase-resilience-to-fight-covid-19-135535
Ray & Reddy (2020). “COVID-19 Management in Light of the Circadian Clock”. Nature Reviews. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41580-020-0275-3
Ripley (1974). “Senate Votes Return to Standard Time for Four Months and Sends Bill to Ford”. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/1974/10/01/archives/senate-votes-return-to-standard-time-for-four-months-and-sends-bill.html
Roenneberg et al (2019). “Daylight Saving Time and Artificial Time Zones — A Battle Between Biological and Social Times”. Frontiers in Physiology. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2019.00944/full
Silver (2014) “Which Cities Sleep In, and Which Get to Work Early”. FiveThirtyEight. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/which-cities-sleep-in-and-which-get-to-work-early/
Skeldon & Dijk (2019). “School Start Times and Daylight Saving Time Confuse California Lawmakers”. Current Biology. https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(19)30312-4
Society for Research on Biological Rhythms (2019). “Why Should We Abolish Daylight Saving Time?”. Journal of Biological Rhythms. https://srbr.org/advocacy/daylight-saving-time-presskit/
Yorkshire (2018). “British Summer Time: Why Do We Change the Clocks?”. Yorkshire Evening Post. https://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/uk-news/british-summer-time-why-do-we-change-clocks-313791