Horacio de la Iglesia, UW Biology Professor, was featured in an article in The Seattle Times discussing the effects that a permanent switch to daylight savings time might have on our bodies.
Many Washingtonians might not like changing our clocks back and forth twice a year — as we’re set to do this Sunday when we spring forward one hour — but we sure do love our late summer sunsets.
Rep. Marcus Riccelli of Spokane never saw such an enthusiastic response from constituents across the state as the year he and other lawmakers proposed ditching the switch and staying on permanent daylight saving time year-round.
The proposal won overwhelming bipartisan support, was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee in May 2019, and seemed headed for Congress.
While states can move to permanent standard time without federal approval, congressional action is required to stay on daylight saving time. The Sunshine Protection Act, sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray of Washington and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, would have amended the Uniform Time Act of 1966 and allow states to adopt permanent daylight saving time.
Although year-round daylight saving time is popular with outdoor enthusiasts, people who like to party and those who like to sell things to them, standard time is significantly better for most people, said Horacio de la Iglesia, a professor of biology at the University of Washington. His work on sleep cycles contributed to Seattle Public Schools decision to start school later for middle and high school students..
That’s because our bodies want to sync with natural daylight hours.
Daylight saving time is what we observe from March through November each year. For many people, it’s a turning point from the short dark days of winter to the longer evenings and later sunsets of summer.
In Seattle, it doesn’t have a hugely detrimental effect on our moods and sleep cycles in spring and summer because there’s still plenty of morning light, he said, but winter is a different story.
On Seattle’s shortest day, the sun rises at around 8 a.m. and sets just after 4 p.m. If Washington switched to year-round DST, the sun would rise at 9 a.m. and set at 5 p.m. that day in Seattle.
“You may think that the extra hour of evening light we gain with DST is good for you,” he explained. “But research shows that the hour of morning light we miss out on under DST is unhealthy for your body and mind.”
Read the full article in The Seattle Times.
Related article in King 5 News.