On March 15, 2022, just days after clocks were adjusted to “spring forward,” the U.S. Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021, which would abolish clock changes in favor of permanent daylight saving time.
Although dozens of states have considered legislation to end clock changes, only federal action can establish permanent daylight saving time in the United States. States may be able to opt out of daylight saving time, choosing permanent standard time.
While the Sunshine Protection Act still requires approval by the House and President Biden to become law, the bill could mean major shifts in our clocks, daylight exposure, and sleep. As of January 2023, however, the House had not discussed or voted upon the bill since the Senate passage.
Here’s what we know about the potential changes to our time changes.
Jan. 24, 2023, UPDATE: No action came from the Sunshine Protection Act before the U.S. House shuffled representatives and leadership following the November 2022 election. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., now leads the House Energy & Commerce Committee tasked with discussing the Senate bill. Prior chairman Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., had remarked that he was not leaning toward permanent daylight saving time or permanent standard time — but said, “it’s time we stop changing our clocks.”
📝 Got a hot tip? Pitch us your story idea, share your expertise with SleepFoundation.org, or let us know about your sleep experiences right here.
Meanwhile, with daylight saving time set to start again on March 12, 2023, more states have joined the fray in proposing their own time-change bills.
- Texas: On Jan. 18, democratic state Rep. Vikki Goodwin proposed a bill that would allow voters to decide how the state should handle the time change. If it passes, the decision would go to Texas voters in November.
- Virginia: Also on Jan. 18, the Virginia Senate passed a bill advocating for permanent daylight saving time in the state. Ultimately, that could not take place without federal action.
- Arkansas: In January, two bills proposing permanent daylight saving time did not pass out of state House committee.
Nov. 7, 2022, UPDATE: States that observe daylight saving time saw it end on Nov. 6. As of now, daylight saving time 2023 is set to start in the coming year, with efforts to make it permanent stalling in the House.
According to the Washington Post, House discussion on the bipartisan Senate bill — whose co-sponsors ranged from Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. — is waiting on the Department of Transportation to report on the effects of a permanent change. That analysis, however, is due on Dec. 31, 2023, after the Sunshine Protection Act is slated to take effect. This makes it unlikely that any action will come on daylight saving time until 2024.
Then-committee chairman Pallone told the Post: “We haven’t been able to find consensus in the House on this yet. There are a broad variety of opinions about whether to keep the status quo, to move to a permanent time, and if so, what time that should be.”
Sept. 27, 2022, UPDATE: The start of autumn has brought with it renewed questions about daylight saving time. In short, nothing has changed for daylight saving time (DST) in 2022.
- Daylight saving time will end at 2 a.m local time on Nov. 6. People in states that observe it will move their clocks back one hour.
- The Sunshine Protection Act that the Senate passed in March 2022 has not made it to the U.S. House for discussion. It would require House passage and President Biden’s signature to become law.
- If the bill were to pass in the next year, as it’s written, permanent daylight saving time would take effect on Nov. 5, 2023. In other words, we would move our clocks forward again in March and keep them there. Until the bill or another like it passes, however, we’ll be sticking with clock changes twice a year.
June 28, 2022, UPDATE: Summer has started. But as expected, the U.S. House has not moved quickly to address the Sunshine Protection Act, which the Senate passed earlier this year. It has not made it to any subcommittee agenda in the House Committee on Energy & Commerce, which typically would face the task of discussing and reviewing the plan. Per the Senate’s bill, permanent daylight saving time would take effect on Nov. 5, 2023, if the legislation passes the House and receives the president’s signature.
May 24, 2022, UPDATE: Two months since the U.S. Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act, the U.S. House has yet to start discussion on it. But that’s OK with the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, which reasserted its preference for permanent standard time this week. It joined the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms and the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine in a letter (PDF) that urged the House to discuss the matter thoroughly before voting on the best option for daylight saving time moving forward.
“Standard time is a better option than daylight saving time for our health, mood, and well-being,” says Dr. Raman Malhotra, the academy’s president, in a statement. “By aligning our clock time more closely with the timing of the sun, standard time helps synchronize our bodies with our natural environment, which is optimal for our daytime functioning and nighttime sleep.”
April 13, 2022, UPDATE: Americans may prefer a move to permanent daylight saving time, according to a new CBS News/You Gov poll. Survey results show that 46% of participants opted for daylight saving all year long, with 33% preferring permanent standard time and 21% stating they like our current time-change setup. This preference is consistent across all demographics and political groups and included a sample group of more than 1,600 adult Americans. A separate survey of likely Oklahoma voters showed similar results.
Sleep experts and groups such as the National Sleep Foundation and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine have come out in favor of permanent standard time. Supporters of permanent daylight saving time include University of Washington law professor Steve Calandrillo, who says the issue goes beyond sleep.
“I care about all costs and all benefits — economic, health, safety, energy. But in my opinion, the public-safety and crime-reduction positives outweigh the negatives,” Calandrillo says. “The negatives, like the winter-morning darkness impacts on school children, can be mitigated through later school start times.”
What has happened already?
Senate Bill 623, sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., passed the Senate on March 15, 2022. No formal vote took place. Instead, the bill passed through a process called unanimous consent, which means that no senator objected to its passage. The bill’s introduction surprised some lawmakers, and at least one senator reportedly was expected to object. The bill must pass the House and gain President Biden’s signature to become law.
When will Congress vote on daylight saving time, and what happens after that?
There is no established timetable for House debate or voting on this bill. Indications in March were that it could be weeks or months before a decision about voting on the legislation. Rep. Frank Pallone of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that oversees time changes says more research is needed.
In addition, the White House has not taken a position on the bill.
If the current bill passes, permanent daylight saving time would take effect on Nov. 5, 2023. This would allow the transportation industry time to adjust its advanced scheduling.
In practice, this means that the last clock change would occur with a “spring forward” in March 2023. After that, there would be no “fall back” in November, and clocks would stay on daylight saving time permanently.
Is the proposal to move to permanent standard time or permanent daylight saving time?
The Sunshine Protection Act would establish permanent daylight saving time. Under the bill’s provisions, there would no longer be biannual clock changes in the spring and fall.
Good question. The Senate call for unanimous consent on the Sunshine Protection Act came just after the clock change in March, when daylight saving time typically is in greater focus. The bill itself has been around since 2021, however, and was moved to committee in the House and Senate since then. Rubio himself has proposed similar bills each year since 2018, with none getting as far as this year’s version.
Did he just get lucky in 2022? We may learn more in the coming weeks.
What does this mean for my city and state? Will we be literally in the dark all the time?
Arizona, Hawaii, and U.S. territories that follow permanent standard time would be exempt from the law. These states and territories would continue using their current system of permanent standard time.
In addition, any other state that adopted permanent standard time before November 2023 would be exempt from the switch to permanent daylight saving time. Every state would have to choose one stable time, either standard time or daylight saving time.
Daylight saving time takes place from mid-March to early November. We may notice little difference in those months except for the elimination of biannual clock changes.
The law’s effects would be more apparent from November to March, when clocks are on standard time. In general, daylight saving time means less light in the morning Trusted Source National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information. See Full Reference . So during these months, people with typical work and school schedules would be more likely to start the day in the dark.
That said, the effects of the Sunshine Protection Act will vary based on where you live . The amount of daylight throughout the year depends on how far north you live. In addition, cities in the western parts of each time zone have later sunrises, which can mean even less morning light under permanent daylight saving time.
How will this change how we sleep?
By establishing a stable time, the new law would prevent sleep disruptions that occur from biannual clock changes. Switching to permanent daylight saving time, however, could interfere with quality sleep.
Groups such as the American Academy of Sleep Medicine Trusted Source National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information. See Full Reference and the National Sleep Foundation Trusted Source National Sleep Foundation (NSF) Founded in 1990, the National Sleep Foundation is committed to advancing excellence in sleep health theory, research, and practice. See Full Reference , as well as many experts, oppose permanent daylight saving time and prefer the idea of permanent standard time.
Daylight saving time reduces exposure to morning sunlight, which makes it harder to wake up in the morning. More light in the evening may make it harder to fall asleep at night. In addition, the shift in the timing of daylight exposure can affect the body’s internal clock, which follows a 24-hour schedule known as a circadian rhythm.
Why was daylight saving time created at all?
The U.S. started daylight saving time in 1918 and has implemented and repealed it at various times since then. It was created primarily to reduce energy consumption and promote commerce. The Uniform Time Act of 1966 established the current system of biannual clock changes between standard time and daylight saving time.
Permanent daylight saving time existed during wartime periods of 1918 to 1919 and 1942 to 1945 to conserve energy. The U.S. also experimented with permanent daylight saving time in January 1974 in the face of a mounting oil crisis. That ended in October 1974 because of significant public dissatisfaction with darker mornings.
Why hasn’t the United States already abolished clock changes?
There is no single reason. Although surveys show that clock changes are generally unpopular Trusted Source American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) AASM sets standards and promotes excellence in sleep medicine health care, education, and research. See Full Reference , groups disagree about whether permanent standard time or permanent daylight saving time would be best. In addition, changing federal law can be a lengthy process, which has helped keep the current system of clock changes in place.
Correction | Nov. 10, 2022: This article was updated to reflect the correct spelling of Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
If you're ready for more ⟶ sign up to receive our email newsletter!
Thanks for the feedback - we're glad you found our work instructive!
Submitting your Answer...