UVA professors say U.S. should switch to permanent standard time, not Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time
Posted at 3:40 PM, Mar 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-16 20:45:09-04

NORFOLK, Va. - A pair of professors at the University of Virginia believe the United States should switch to permanent standard time, not permanent Daylight Saving Time.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate passed a bill to making Daylight Saving Time year-round by unanimous consent. It now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

"I think the idea of constantly changing back and forth is a crazy idea, so I'm glad there's an attempt to maybe settle down on one time, but I think we're selecting the wrong one," said Iggy Provencio, a professor of biology at UVA who studies circadian rhythms — humans' biological clocks.

"Emotionally, I love the idea of having more light in the evening, but intellectually I can't justify it," Provencio said.

The change would mean the sun would rise in Hampton Roads after 8 a.m. from December through February. The sun would set later during the winter, at the earliest around 5:45 p.m. in December.

"In the summer, we are not lacking sunlight, so the problem to solve is not the summer - the problem to solve is the winter," said Ali Guler, an associate professor of biology at UVA.

The sun rising so late could have negative health consequences like diabetes, heart attacks and even cancer, according to Guler.

"Misalignment from the normal solar day comes with potential health consequences that are not immediate," he said.

The U.S. began observing Daylight Saving Time in 1918 in an effort to save on energy during World War I, according to the Department of Defense. It was done again during World War II.

In 1966, the current system of switching times twice a year began when Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, although some changes have happened over the years.

In the 1970s, the U.S. briefly experimented with permanent Daylight Saving Time, but quickly switched back to changing clocks twice a year.

"It's been tried and tested and it failed," Guler said.