2020 December 15
The Honorable Greg Abbott
Governor of Texas
PO Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711
Re: Stop “spring forward” to fight COVID-19 with better sleep/immunity.
Dear Governor Abbott,
Thank you for your leadership in addressing COVID-19. As an additional step that is easy, inexpensive, and necessary, please cancel Texas’s upcoming clock change to Daylight Saving Time (DST) and restore permanent Standard Time in your state as soon as possible. Permanent Standard Time is recommended by millions of scientists, doctors, and teachers to assure better sleep, immunity, health, mood, safety, education, and economy.[AASM][CSC][ESRS][RIVM][SRBR]
Sleep is an essential component to viral immunity,[Borrmann][Meira] and for years the CDC has considered sleep deprivation to be a nationwide 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). Sleep deprivation by DST’s circadian misalignment manifests as statistically significant increases in accidents, diseases, and healthcare costs, and as statistically significant decreases in education, productivity, and wages. Standard Time preserves morning sunlight, which humans need most to thrive.[AASM][Borisenkov][Borrmann][CSC][Curtis][ESRS][Gibson][Giuntella][Gu][Jenkins][Juda][RIVM][Roenneberg][SRBR][Watson] Permanent Standard Time is a necessary measure in defeating COVID-19.
Scores of organizations representing millions of scientists, doctors, and teachers oppose both seasonal and permanent DST and endorse permanent Standard Time. These include the National Parent Teacher Association, the National Safety Council, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the American College of Chest Physicians, the American College of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, Start School Later, the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, and the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms.[AASM][CSC][ESRS][RIVM][SRBR]
Various bills have arisen recently to end clock change by either permanent DST or permanent Standard Time. Only permanent Standard Time is federally permitted by the 1966 Uniform Time Act.[Sheeler][Skelton][Watson] Scientific polling shows overwhelming public support to end clock change, with slight preference for Standard Time.[AP] History shows public support for permanent DST reverses into opposition once its dark winter mornings are experienced.[BBC][Ripley][Yorkshire] Permanent DST would delay Texas’s sunrise to 8:56am, and past 8am for 4.7 months. Permanent Standard Time will keep your state’s sunrises before 8am, when most work and school days start,[CDC][Silver] for healthier sunlight exposure, circadian alignment, sleep, and immunity.
Please issue an executive order for permanent Standard Time before clocks would change on March 14. Neighboring states will certainly join. You can lead the nation in the renewed movement for naturally healthy, permanent Standard Time, during this unprecedented moment in history. Alternatively, your office could encourage members of the state Senate and House to lead emergency bills for permanent Standard Time. But please remember March 14 is just a few months away. And know that science, medicine, schools, and history will support you. Please feel free to reach out to me anytime.
Save Standard Time
PO Box 40238
San Francisco, California 94140
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). “Daylight Saving Time 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
Borrmann et al (2020). “The Circadian Clock and Viral Infections”. Journal of Biological Rhythms. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0748730420967768
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/
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 to the EU Commission on DST”. 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
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
RIVM (2019). “Standard Time More Beneficial for Public Health Than Summer Time”. Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu. https://www.rivm.nl/en/news/standard-time-more-beneficial-for-public-health-than-summer-time
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
Sheeler (2019). “Daylight Saving Time Will Continue in California for Now, as Lawmaker Delays Bill”. Merced Sun–Star. https://www.mercedsunstar.com/news/california/article234946067.html
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/
Skelton (2018). “Year-Round Daylight Saving Time? More Dark Mornings Is Just One Downside”. Los Angeles Times. https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-skelton-daylight-saving-time-20180705-story.html
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/
Watson (2019). “Time to Show Leadership on the Daylight Saving Time Debate”. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6557642/?report=classic
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
This letter is being emailed, mailed, and faxed to the governor’s office, with follow-up by phone.