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Opinion: It's past time to snuff out seasonal time changes

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Along with allergies that hit simultaneously, seasonal time changes can be disorienting.

A bill working its way through the Missouri General Assembly would do away with biannual time changes and have the state join a pact that establishes daylight saving time as the year-round standard. Bill sponsor Rep. Chris Sander, R-Lone Jack, says 23 other states, including some bordering Missouri, have “put themselves in the queue” to permanently switch to daylight saving time, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The bill passed the House of Representatives and received a first read in the Senate on April 19. According to the Post-Dispatch, the move requires federal approval to be enacted.

It seems like a solid idea in theory. The policy change would eliminate the twice-per-year dread that comes with seasonal time changes, particularly when we lose an hour in the spring.

But beyond getting on board with other states and eliminating annoyances associated with time changes, would the switch to permanent daylight saving time have substantial benefits to employee health and work production?

The answer, according to some scientific researchers, is that it would have positive health benefits.

In an October 2019 article, “Science Says: How daylight saving time affects health,” from The Associated Press, scientists spoke about adverse health risks that come with the annual time changes that affect some 2 billion people globally.

Scientific studies point to potential links between time changes and sleep deprivation, heart problems and vehicle accidents.

The issue, according to some circadian biologists, lies with our internal clocks, which regulate bodily functions including metabolism, blood pressure and hormones.

Till Roenneberg, a circadian rhythm specialist at Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich, Germany, told The Associated Press that a mismatch in our internal clocks of one hour daily is enough to lead to ill health effects, especially if the change lasts for several months.

“If we want to improve human health, we should not fight against our body clock, and therefore we should abandon daylight saving time,” Roenneberg said in a position statement with Dr. Phyllis Zee, a sleep researcher at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, written for the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms.

These adverse time-change effects spread to the workplace, according to research that in 2009 was recorded in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

Time changes can lead to increased workplace injuries and can impair judgment, productivity and alertness, the study found.

The Associated Press report also indicates the initial reason for daylight saving time established around a century ago was to save energy by making better use of daylight. However, modern-day researchers have found little or no cost savings in terms of energy.

Going by these metrics, it appears past time to do away with seasonal time changes.

Please join me in support of the Missouri legislation, and let’s do away with an annoyance that regularly and adversely affects our personal and work lives.

Springfield Business Journal Digital Editor Geoff Pickle can be reached at gpickle@sbj.net.

Comments

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Dr. Paul C. Collins

I agree that Missouri should be permanently on DST.

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