Daylight saving 2023 arrives Sunday. Not every Michigander is happy
- Clocks will jump an hour ahead on Sunday at 2 a.m. for daylight saving time
- Some studies show changing the clocks twice a year can contribute to health concerns like heart disease
- Efforts by lawmakers to stop the practice come up every year but never seem to become law
Get your clocks ready to “spring forward” for daylight saving time. In the early hours Sunday morning everyone will set their clocks an hour ahead, if their digital clock doesn’t do so automatically. Then in November, clocks will once again “fall back” an hour to standard time.
It’s a cycle that has continued for decades, and some people are literally tired of the semi-annual time switching.
That includes state Rep. Michele Hoitega, R-Manton, who wants to do away with switching the clock twice a year and return to permanent standard time, and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, who advocates on the federal level for sticking with year-round daylight saving time.
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“This ritual of changing time twice a year is stupid,” Rubio said in introducing his bill. “Locking the clock has overwhelming bipartisan and popular support. This Congress, I hope that we can finally get this done.”
Politicians seem to raise similar concerns every year and introduce legislation to get rid of DST altogether or make DST permanent, to little effect. Here’s what to know:
How we got here
Daylight saving time — saving, not savings — was first implemented in the U.S. in 1918 through the Standard Time Act, a law that made oversight of the time zones a federal task. The aim was to encourage people to engage in more outdoor and recreational activity which could save fuel and energy during World War l.
After decades of controversy and confusion, the Uniform Time Act of 1966 permanently established daylight saving time and how each time zone implemented it.
What’s the problem with the time switch?
Daylight saving time offers an hour more of sunlight later in the day, sacrificing an hour in the early morning.
But some studies suggest changing has negative effects that go beyond the confusion that accompany “springing forward.”
Some experts in this camp focus on safety concerns that follow changing body rhythms and losing an hour of sleep, including increased risk of heart disease, vehicle accidents and mood disorders in the days after the switch.
According to an article in Northwestern Medicine, changing to DST disrupts the body’s circadian rhythm which regulates the body’s sleep pattern and wakefulness during the day.
Disruption from the time change is also associated with depression, slowed metabolism and weight gain, the article said.
The Washington Post used animation to illustrate how the body’s rhythm is thrown off by DST.
Benefits of permanent daylight saving time
Proponents of a permanent switch to daylight saving argue more sunshine is good for body, soul and the economy.
They say more afternoon sunshine means people being active later into the day. Some studies show an economic benefit: Businesses benefit from more customers along with fewer robberies and crime as darkness descends later in the day.
A plurality of Americans (46 percent) favor a permanent switch to daylight saving time, according to a CBS poll last year, and 19 states (not including Michigan) have passed bills or resolutions to make DST permanent if Congress allows it.
The case for permanent standard time
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine argues that a national year-round standard time should replace seasonal time changes. Standard time “aligns best with human circadian biology and provides distinct benefits for public health and safety,” the group found.
In 2021, Hoitenga sponsored a bill to eliminate seasonal time changes in favor of either standard or daylight saving time, so long as Michigan neighbors Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania did so as well.
“Obviously, we all like stability,” she told Bridge.
“It is kind of disruptive when I’m used to getting up at 6 a.m. and now I’m getting up at 5 a.m. That does really mess with you.”
While Hoitenga personally prefers standard time, she said whichever way the state goes is better than the biannual clock changes.
Most of Michigan is in the Eastern Time Zone ,but part of the Upper Peninsula closest to Wisconsin is in the Central Time Zone.
“I would say as of now leave the clocks alone. Don’t change them again,” Hoitenga added.
Hoitenga said her 2021 bill, which passed the House, didn't pass the Senate because there were concerns among some legislators who live on the border of other states about being in a different time zone than neighboring states for the purpose of commerce.
Regardless of one’s position on the future of DST, going to sleep an hour earlier can help minimize health effects from the time change. Sleep experts say avoiding the use of technology, caffeine and alcohol before bed can help with a good night’s rest.
Hoitenga, meanwhile, told Bridge she plans to reintroduce her bill again this year, without the condition that it rely on what other states do in hopes it will get more play.
But she said she is prepared for it to get shot down again.
“It will be talked about for a good week or two while people are very tired and grumpy from lack of sleep,” she said. “Then the conversation just gets lost the rest of the year.”
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