In accordance with “spring forward,” Utahns set their clocks ahead an hour on March 13. They may be doing it for the last time in 2023.
The Senate unanimously approved a bill on March 15 that would make daylight saving time permanent — meaning in 2023, we would “spring forward” for one last time, but wouldn’t “fall back.” According to The Associated Press, lawmakers aim to make the later hours lighter with the measure, but pushing back the sunset would also mean pushing back the sunrise.
This would mean that in Utah, the sun would not rise until almost 9 a.m. in winter months.
“The problem with that is that we need morning sun to to synchronize our internal rhythms,” said Dr. Kelly Glazer Baron, a clinical psychologist at University of Utah Health who specializes in behavioral sleep medicine.
“Your internal clock runs on its own independent clock in your brain, but it’s linked in to this 24-hour day, synced up with a light-dark cycle,” Glazer Baron continued. “That’s one of the reasons why we say ‘don’t get too much evening light,’ or ‘wear blue blocker glasses’ or ‘don’t use electronics late at night’ because that nighttime light is keeping us up later.”
Because of the brain’s link with the light cycle of a 24-hour day, switching to permanent daylight saving time would be a challenge in Utah.
An early morning without the sunrise would make it harder for children to get up for school, and adults to get up for work. Ski resorts have already opposed the move as well, since it would delay avalanche control before opening.
“I mean, even now, the fact that it’s not getting light out until 8 a.m., I know that I’m dragging in the morning,” Glazer Baron said.
Research shows that it does make sense to eliminate the twice-annual time change, and not just because the loss of an hour leads to a few days of sleep deprivation. Glazer Baron said there is typically an increase in heart attacks and vehicle accidents over the three days required to adjust to daylight saving time.
But most studies agree that the country should make the switch to permanent standard time, rather than permanent daylight saving time. Standard time is the four months of the year after November’s “fall back.”
“It makes so much sense to eliminate switching back and forth — the whole concept of daylight saving time goes back to Benjamin Franklin and they thought there’d be more time for for harvesting crops,” Glazer Baron said. “But biologically speaking ... all of the sleep and circadian organizations strongly support staying on standard time. And the reason for that is because basically daylight saving time is artificially shifting the day.”
In order to go into effect in 2023, the bill still needs to pass through the House and be signed by President Joe Biden.
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