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Year-Round DST: Why the Sunshine Protection Act Matters to the Mattress Industry

The Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act, which will make Daylight Saving Time (DST) permanent by November 2023.

Studies have shown that switching clocks kills people through increased traffic accidents, strokes, crime, heart attacks, and more.

Seventy percent of Americans don’t want clocks to switch ever, but 40% want permanent Standard Time, while 31% are diehard DST-ers.

While most Americans are in favor of keeping a consistent clock, the debate about ST or DST comes down to a preference for more sunshine in the evening or in the morning. 

In Chicago for example, where the sun sets around 4 p.m. in the winter, under DST the earliest sunset would occur at 5:21 p.m. on Dec. 8, 2023, and the twilight that follows would provide some light until just before 6 p.m.

Whether you prefer more sunshine in the morning or at night is a personal preference, but we know that keeping clocks the same is the key to better sleep and fewer deaths. 

As mattress retailers might realize, shifting time back and forth disrupts a person’s circadian rhythm—light and dark are powerful cues for our bodies to know when to sleep or be awake. 

Scientists believe the disruption of a person’s circadian rhythm is the cause of more heart attacks and strokes. Studies show that changes to our circadian rhythm can also lead to car accidents, workplace injuries, increased risk of suicides, and even miscarriages.

In 1973, President Gerald Ford made DST permanent as part of a two-year experiment. However, he reversed the decision the next year because the long dark winters were just too hard to take. 

The reversal in 1974 may have been bad luck for the outdoor businesses and the candy industry—who lobbied to get that extra hour of daylight for trick-or-treating. They argued that by setting our clocks forward in the spring, we can counteract a sedentary lifestyle. 

And multiple studies show that changing clocks twice a year causes more fatal accidents, heart attacks, and strokes, and sleepy workers who’ve lost an hour are more likely to get injured.

The FAM is in favor of keeping DST or ST all year round. As long as we keep it consistent, we’re in full support.

Some argue that the morning darkness of permanent DST is not worth the extra sunlight—which is one reason it was reversed just a year after being made permanent in 1973. Many parents, in particular, are not in favor of permanent DST because it means their kids go to school in complete darkness.

The nuances of this debate will continue, but anytime there’s a change, people tend to pay attention. Mattress retailers and brands can put themselves in the center of the conversation and use the Sunshine Protection Act to connect with consumers. 

Start by educating customers on the basics of a consistent bedtime. Why is having a bedtime that doesn’t change important? What happens in the short term when your bedtime routine is disrupted? Long term? Then go into the effect of light on a person’s body and how that affects sleep. Explain that light signals our brains to wake up.

Here are some FAM articles that will help you educate your customers:

Now that the act has passed, clocks will stay the same starting in November 2023, which means you have plenty of time to address this topic and prepare people for the potential permanence of DST. 

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