PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A University of Washington School of Medicine professor said after we changed our clocks to standard time Sunday, we should never change them again.
Dr. Nathaniel Watson, a professor of neurology and the co-director of the UW Medicine Sleep Center, is strongly in favor of remaining in standard time and said it’s better for people’s health.
“When we go to daylight saving time, it’s like dosing the entire population with an hour of permanent jet lag and we know that this has untoward consequences for health,” he said.
He knows that people are tired of switching their clocks and that there’s been a major push in the U.S. to remain in daylight saving time permanently. However, he’d prefer the country stays in standard time.
“The reality is that permanent standard time is just the more natural way to go about our lives,” Watson said. “There’s three clocks that we have. We have a body clock, we have a sun clock and we have a social clock. Our health is optimized when our body clock is aligned with the sun clock and that’s most aligned when we’re on standard time.”
He wants people to remember that daylight saving time does not add any additional daylight time to a day. It simply changes when the daylight occurs.
In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared sleep deprivation a public health epidemic. The CDC says a third of adults in the U.S. say they get less than the recommended amount of sleep and that sleep loss is linked with many chronic diseases and conditions.
Knowing this, Watson said his advice for the weekend when daylight saving time ends is to use that extra hour to catch up on sleep.
“What I want people to do is listen to your body. Go to sleep when you start feeling sleepy and ideally, you would wake up spontaneously when you feel rested in the morning,” he said.
In Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill in 2019 that could allow the state to adopt daylight saving time year-round. In order to take effect, all three West Coast States must also decide to adopt year-round daylight saving time and get approval from U.S. lawmakers.
The Washington Legislature also passed a bill in 2019 to remain permanently in daylight saving time if the U.S. Congress votes to allow the country to stay in it.