Medical Professional Discuss Health Impacts Of Sunshine Protection Act

A bill to make daylight savings time permanent is headed to the house floor. The bill was recently passed in the senate.

The Sunshine Protection Act is looking to get rid of when time will spring forward or fall back. 

A local medical professional with OU Health said there are positive and negative effects that come with this change if it becomes law.

Dr. Joanne Skaggs said whenever it’s time to wind the clock forward or backwards her office gets busier.

“In the medical world, we find that that’s actually associated with increased cardiovascular risk so there’s an increased risk of heart attack stroke you’re more likely to be admitted to the hospital and you’re more likely to visit the emergency room,” Dr. Skaggs said.

Dr. Skaggs said shifting time back and forth disrupts the circadian rhythm. Senator James Lankford is a cosponsor on a bill to get rid of time changes. The bill just passed in the senate.

In a statement to Senator Lankford,

“This is one issue that I have been chipping away at for a few years, and an issue I have consistently heard from Oklahomans—they are ready to lock the clock. Today Oklahomans, parents, dog owners, and lovers of daylight are one step closer to not having to deal with springing forward or falling back,” said Lankford.

“Congress created Daylight Saving decades ago as a wartime effort, now it is well past time to lock the clock and end this experiment. I call on the House of Representatives to pass this bill immediately.”

If the bill becomes law, it would make Daylight saving time permanent which Dr. Skaggs said could be harmful instead of helpful.

“We sort of assume that daylight saving time brings more sunlight and it can in a way. So, it shifts it to later in the day. That’s not necessarily a good thing for our bodies. Light and dark they are very powerful cues for us they help us know when we’re supposed to be asleep or alert,” Dr. Skaggs said. 

“We’re more alert when there’s sunlight, we’re conditioned to be sleepier when there’s darkness.”

Dr. Skaggs encourages folks to move their clocks to avoid side effects of the time change. She said this will help folks waking up in the dark hours.

The bill now heads to the House. If passed the change will start November of 2023.