For the media

The pros and cons of permanent daylight saving time (DST)

By The Health News Team | November 4, 2022
Woman with smart phone in bed

The concept of daylight saving time  — ending when clocks are changed at 2 am on Sunday, Nov. 6 — has always ruffled a few feathers. While some people welcome the idea of chasing the sunshine, others are frustrated by the repeated disruption. Recently, the U.S. Senate took a stand, voting unanimously to make daylight saving time permanent.

If the "Sunshine Protection Act" measure clears Congress and is signed into law, it would mean no longer changing our clocks, starting in the fall of 2023. While parents of small children everywhere are crying a collective “Yay!” many sleep experts aren’t joining the celebration quite yet.

Daylight saving time is the practice of manipulating the clock to squeeze out as much sun as we can during our working hours. According to Dr. Victoria Sharma, medical director of the Sharp Grossmont Hospital Sleep Disorders Center, it’s great in theory, but it’s not a natural solution. “Although I love sunshine, getting rid of daylight saving time, instead of making it permanent, would be a healthier option.”

Here’s what she means:

  • Permanent daylight saving time means darker mornings and lighter nights.

  • Permanent standard time means lighter mornings and darker nights.

According to Dr. Sharma, of the two, permanent standard time better aligns with our natural body clock.

“People are meant to wake up with the sun,” she says. This would mean that Senate leaders are on the right track, but simply picked the wrong schedule. If we’re going to put a hard stop on changing our clocks, starting in the springtime, not the fall, is better for our bodies.

The benefits of permanent standard time

In terms of sleep health, permanent standard time is a better option because:

  1. It can help us fall asleep at night.
    The absence of light sends a critical signal to our bodies that it is time to rest. Light exposure at the wrong times reduces the release of melatonin, making it more challenging to fall asleep.

  2. It can help us wake up in the morning.
    Morning sunlight sends a “wake-up” message to the brain. It is an important way to let our bodies know that the day is starting and correctly sets our circadian rhythm, our internal process that helps control the sleep-wake cycle.

  3. It helps teens better manage school and learning.
    Teenagers have a naturally later sleep cycle than children and adults, which means they should wake up later in the day to stay in sync with their body clocks.

  4. Disrupting the body’s natural sleep rhythm can lead to bigger health concerns.
    Breaking our natural body clock could lead to sleep deprivation, which is linked to increased rates of obesity, diabetes, dementia and other health issues.

While permanent standard time would have been a better Senate choice, Dr. Sharma — and many of her sleep medicine counterparts — aren’t too concerned with the Congress’ upcoming vote.

“Yes, standard time is better,” says Dr. Sharma. “But at the end of the day, changing the clocks every six months is such a struggle and comes with its own concerns.”

To combat the “off” months of permanent daylight saving time, Dr. Sharma recommends blackout shades at night or a light box in the morning. For many, they’re a simple solution to a centuries-long struggle.

“There’s really no reason to change clocks anymore,” says Dr. Sharma. “It’s an antiquated practice. I’m sure many people will be relieved to see it go away.”

Learn more about sleep; get the latest health and wellness news, trends and patient stories from Sharp Health News.

For the news media: To talk with Dr. Victoria Sharma for an upcoming story about the health impact of permanent daylight saving time, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at

Victoria Sharma

Dr. Victoria Sharma


Dr. Victoria Sharma Dr. Victoria Sharma is the medical director of the Sharp Grossmont Hospital Sleep Disorders Center.

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