The Sunshine Protection Act: Daylight Saving Time Forever

It’s been roughly two weeks since daylight saving time began at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 13—and has the American public recovered yet?

Colloquially known as “springing forward,” daylight saving time has become that annually anticipated weekend where you dread losing an hour of sleep but look forward to those lazy summer evenings.

Yet in the midst of your sluggish disorientation, you might have missed what occurred just two days after the clocks wound forward. On March 15, the U.S. Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act “by unanimous consent.” That means that all 100 senators believe that it is best for the American people to be on daylight saving time permanently.

And certainly, when looking at the increased number of accidents, injuries, and, sadly, even fatalities that regularly result from the biannual time shift, the Sunshine Protection Act might seem fairly logical. However, it appears that the solution is not so simple.


Standard Time vs. Daylight Saving Time

“Some experts believe that DST is dangerous because it disrupts the natural circadian rhythm,” reported an article in The Daily Wire.

According to critical care physician Roger Seheult, whose four board certifications include one in sleep medicine, our natural circadian rhythm is “aligned with reality.” In simplified terms, our bodies want to wake up when the sun is up and rest when the sun goes down.

But Seheult also says that “the body is hardwired to be able to take information from the environment and to change its internal circadian rhythm so that it’s in sync with the environment.” Daylight saving time is one of those changes to the natural environment. In a world that revolves around a manmade clock dictating when one goes to school, when one goes to work, when one’s flight takes off, and when one’s doctor’s appointment begins, an arbitrary shift of one hour, though it may seem small, makes a major, lasting effect in one’s life.

Research by sleep specialists has shown that modifying the body’s internal circadian rhythm could result in anything from more hunger to “heart attacks and strokes” and even “higher rates of cancer [and] depression,” not to mention diabetes.

As such, some scientists have come to the conclusion that “our body is more naturally in sync with Standard Time.” They oppose the Senate bill for reasons of health.

Others are objecting for reasons of faith: “According to Jewish law, morning prayers must take place after the sun rises. Daylight saving time, which currently begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November, extends darkness on late-winter mornings.” Permanent daylight saving time would, therefore, “make it nearly impossible for Jews to pray communally in the morning … and still get to work or school on time during the winter months.”

Interestingly, what these Jewish organizations—as well as “farmers,” “schoolteachers,” and those in other pertinent occupations—found most surprising about the Sunshine Protection Act was its “lightning-fast passage.” An article in Religion News Service reported, “Unlike previous legislation on seasonal time changes, leaders of the Jewish community say, lawmakers didn’t inform them that the issue was on the Senate’s agenda, or that it would be fast-tracked.” They intend to protest the bill as it next seeks passage in the House of Representatives.


God’s Time

 Even more interesting is the history behind daylight saving time. Originally proposed in 1784 by Benjamin Franklin, daylight saving time was a farcical response to the penchant the French had for sleeping in. Franklin argued that waking up earlier would actually cut the costs spent on artificial light, which, at that point in time, was a candle. 

Yet in 1918, when the need to economize came during World War I, America took Franklin seriously, instituting “a law ‘to save daylight’”—much to the chagrin of the American public. It was a manmade answer to a manmade problem, an answer that eventually, with the exceptions of Hawaii and Arizona, became largely regulated in the country in 1966, and then, in 2005, finally updated into the law by which we abide today. 

Most fascinating of all, the U.S. government has been trying, for decades, to find a solution for the solution. In fact, Congress already once previously tried “to stick to permanent daylight saving time” at the end of 1973. But after “eight children in Florida were killed by drivers in the early morning darkness,” the lawmakers rescinded. 

Is today’s government about to repeat the mistakes of the past?

How would our lives change if we followed the recommendation of “the American Academy of Sleep Medicine[, which] supports eliminating daylight saving altogether”? What if, instead of “making it more difficult to live without an alarm clock,” we made choices in alignment with what God has already given us?

From the very first day of this world, “God divided the light from the darkness” (Genesis 1:4) and created “the evening and the morning” (v. 5). From the very beginning, God made a way to gauge time. Three days later, He made the sun, moon, and stars (vv. 14–19). Two days after that, God created mankind (vv. 26–31). What Seheult and other specialists have learned is that the human race intrinsically responds to that “evening” and “morning” God had originally set. Our very cellular structure is evidence of the Creation.

Understand more about the character of our Creator with our free presentation “Creation and the Gospel.” What would our life on this earth be like if we actually followed the will of the Creator, the God who will “work [all things] together for good to those who love [Him]”? (Romans 8:28).

Kris W. Sky
Kris W. Sky is a writer and editor for Amazing Facts International and other online and print publications.
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