Health Risks of Daylight Savings for the Medical and Patient Community: Jocelyn Y. Cheng, MD

WATCH TIME: 5 minutes

“I think that It’s important for people to get an adequate amount of sleep in general. When it comes to the seasonal time change, all of the science points to permanent Standard Time.”

Most parts of the United States get set their clocks 1 hour ahead of standard time from spring to fall, otherwise known as daylight saving time. Research shows that the biological clock of humans is regulated by the timing of light and darkness, which in return dictates sleep and wake rhythms. This yearly change between standard time and daylight saving time introduces misalignment between the solar clock and social one, throwing off the circadian rhythm. Studies show this misalignment between the 2 clocks is associated with health risks, physically and mentally, and safety.

Since its last publication in 2020, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recently published an updated statement in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine to continue to advocate for the elimination of seasonal time changes, suggesting that the new provided evidence further supports the adoption of year-round standard time.1 The organization argues in the paper that the country should end the seasonal time changes in favor of permanent standard time because it aligns best with human circadian biology. Research presented in the statement supported the benefits of standard time and highlighted the potential harms that can result from seasonal time changes to and from daylight saving time.

Coauthor Jocelyn Y. Cheng, MD, a neurologist who specializes in sleep and epilepsy, sat down in an interview with NeurologyLive® to talk about how daylight saving affects the circadian rhythm and sleep patterns among the clinical and patient community, on behalf of the AASM Public Safety Committee. Cheng, who also serves as the senior director of neuroscience clinical research at Eisai, talked about the specific health risks associated with the seasonal time change and the reason why clinicians recommend staying in a permanent Standard Time over changing to daylight saving twice a year in the United States.

1. Rishi MA, Cheng JY, Strang AR, et al. Permanent standard time is the optimal choice for health and safety: an American Academy of Sleep Medicine position statement. J Clin Sleep Med. 2024;20(1):121-125. doi:10.5664/jcsm.10898

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