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Tuesday, March 14, 2023

American Legislators Would Rather Save Daylight Than Save Americans

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - The priorities aren't aligned, much like your circadian rhythm after switching to Daylight Saving Time.

The worst day (or up there as one of top three worst) that (United States of) Americans must face was this weekend: the day they must switch to Daylight Saving Time. And despite living in Koopa Kingdom under a sane leader, KoopaTV sets itself to Daylight Saving Time standards to align with what goes on in the United States of America, because y'all are our main audience and we're customer(?)-centric. So your pain is my pain. And that makes me extremely sleepy.

Quite frankly, it's ridiculous that the people of America, the land of the free and home of the brave, hasn't gone and rioted against their idiot and hostile legislators for imposing Daylight Saving Time. It's true that no one likes twice-a-year clock changing, so what to do to change that has people divided into two camps. Legislative proponents of permanent Daylight Saving Time keep trying to pass the Sunshine Protection Act, as they did in the Senate in March 2022. This never went anywhere in the House and never became law, and that passing in the Senate is no longer valid in the current session of Congress and has to happen again. So now there is a fresh start to promote Standard Time, which is closest to the natural time that the sun follows. Your body also happens to follow (or want to follow) the sun's movements, as opposed to what the government, school (often ran by the government), and/or employer tells you when to wake up.

When Daylight Saving Time finally ended in 2022, I wrote about the Save Standard Time advocacy group's video series on The Science of Clock Change. (Funded by American Academy of Sleep Medicine Foundation.) Back then, the video series was just... one video, but now there is a playlist of NINE videos. You probably don't need to watch the whole cumulative hour or so of content to get the point, and this article will have some particularly interesting screen grabs that should catch your attention (and are backed by studies). Here's one:

Transition From Standard Time to Daylight Saving Time in Spring is Acutely Harmful risk atrial fibrillation stroke heart attack death
From The Science of Clock Change 5: Short-Term Effects of Changing the Clock.

It's important to note that Daylight Saving Time is mostly an occurence that happens in some countries/regions in North America, Europe, and parts of Australia. It's also relatively recent. That allows for natural experiments where you can compare the impact switching to Daylight Saving Time. Scientists, doctors, and public health officials observe several problems on the heart, traffic accidents, and workplace injuries when the switch happens to Daylight Saving Time for about two weeks. This doesn't occur when you switch from Daylight Saving Time to the natural Standard Time. But you don't need someone with a PhD to tell you that. If you live in those countries/regions, particularly in the United States (unless you're lucky to live in Arizona, Hawaii, or some select other locations), you intuitively and personally know how you're feeling right now. Let me know in the comments section how that is. It's probably not as good as a week ago (as of when this was published).

long-term health risks of daylight saving time obesity heart attacks disease diabetes risk
From The Science of Clock Change 7: The Effect of Daylight Saving Time on Health.

Daylight Saving Time doesn't just impact the two weeks after switching to it. If that were the case, you'd think that in permanent Daylight Saving Time, you'd get used to it. But the studies show that your body isn't as adaptive as you might think. Your circadian rhythm, to some extent, remains screwy, and this impacts and compounds problem of sleep deprivation among groups of the population, like teenagers and certain shift workers. The poor sleep quality adds up for all kinds of health problems. Your brain just won't be the same. People are scared of getting “long-COVID” and its long-term “brain fog”, but they ought to be as scared of or more scared of getting poor sleep, which can have similar or worse health effects. These effects are both physical and mental.

...And even if your brain could get used to it, it doesn't change the fact that it's much darker outside when you're supposed to wake up (as dictated by society/government) during Daylight Saving Time, and that unavoidably impacts things because your body wants to use sunlight as a trigger, not an alarm clock.

Permanent Daylight Saving Time Worsens Winter Depression Russia study adolescents
From The Science of Clock Change 9: Effect of Daylight Saving Time on Mental Health.

When your circadian rhythm is disrupted, that impacts a lot of the chemicals in your brain and when you receive the timing of sunlight. Light therapy is effective in the morning for improving mental health disorders. The same cannot be said when it's still light in the evening. That's a reason why adolescent winter depression is higher when permanent Daylight Saving Time is tried, and with THE KIDS nowadays growing up with worse and more numerous mental health disorders than they used to (and how bad that's going to impact civilisation when these kids grow up to be the leaders of the world), we (including American legislators) should very much care about doing what can be done to alleviate the risk factors that go into those health problems.

Let your national AND state legislators know that you support Permanent Standard Time. The individual states today don't need Congress's permission to enact Standard Time all year, but they are much less likely to do so if they are the only state in their region to be doing that. You know, the typical scenario where it's difficult to muster the courage of being the first one, but once the first person does something to stand out, it empowers everyone else to follow. That's also why it may be more convenient and easier to get Congress to act on the whole country all at once. And if you don't yet advocate for year-round Standard Time... let KoopaTV know why in the comments section.

Since 2014, KoopaTV has had an annual article about the devils of clock-switching. The website's position has refined from “clock-switching is bad, please abolish it” to “clock-switching is bad, and the alternative should specifically be year-round Standard Time.” It is tempting to submit to year-round Daylight Saving Time just to end clock-switching, but in some instances, like for mental health, that will result in worse outcomes than the clock-switching. The nuance is important, and if you would like a nuanced discussion, please discuss in the comments section. You can also start talking about Standard Time on Twitter and advocates associated with Save Standard Time will pay attention pretty quickly, if you'd like to talk with them instead of a videogame website.

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