Dark mornings ahead: Permanent daylight saving time would push winter sunrises to nearly 9 AM in some cities
The Sunshine Protection Act aims to make winter evenings brighter by advancing time by 1 hour and leaving it there year round
The Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill that would make daylight saving time permanent, meaning no more changing the clocks every March and November.
Called the Sunshine Protection Act, the idea is to make winter evenings brighter by advancing time by one hour – as we did on Sunday – and leaving it there year round instead of falling back one hour on the first Sunday in November.
This bill still has to be approved by the House of Representatives and then signed by President Joe Biden in order to take effect by the proposed starting date of November 2023, so nothing is changing yet. We'll still turn back the clocks and return to standard time at least from November 2022 until March 2023 before daylight saving time would be locked in for good.
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But some say there is a major flaw in the government's plan. Although winter evenings certainly would be brighter, that extra hour of daylight wouldn't just miraculously appear with the changing of the clocks. Instead, we'd simply be moving that hour of daylight from the morning to the evening.
So what does that mean for you? Mornings will be dark longer because the sun won't rise until after 8 a.m. in much of the U.S., and in some cities, the sunrise will be closer to 9 a.m.
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Currently, the sunrise on Jan. 1 in Atlanta is at 7:42 a.m., but under the proposed year-round daylight saving time, it would be pushed to 8:42 a.m. It's not much better in New York City, where the sun would rise at 8:20 a.m.
Rather than driving home from work in the dark, you'll be driving to work in the dark instead. And most kids will be going to first period before the sun even comes up.
The sunrise in Minneapolis/St. Paul would be even later, pushed all the way to 8:51 a.m. on Jan. 1 if the proposed bill becomes law. The current Jan. 1 sunrise time is 7:51 a.m.
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Cities along the northern tier of the nation would be impacted the most because winter days are shorter the farther north you're located.
Take Seattle, for instance, where permanent daylight saving time would push the Jan. 1 sunrise to 8:57 a.m. Kids would be going not only to first period in the dark, but maybe even second period as well, depending on what time they start their school day.
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Would permanent standard time be a better option?
While summer sunrises would be incredibly early – 4 to 4:30 a.m. in some northern cities – under a year-round standard time regime, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine said this would actually be better for our health than permanent daylight saving time.
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"Current evidence best supports the adoption of year-round standard time, which aligns best with human circadian biology and provides distinct benefits for public health and safety," the AASM wrote in a position statement opposing daylight saving time.
Its statement goes on to say that daylight saving time causes the natural light/dark cycle to be delayed by an hour, which results in a misalignment of your circadian rhythm. This can be linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and other health risks, according to the AASM.