Area experts talk benefits, drawbacks to Sunshine Protection Act
Tuesday, the U.S. Senate passed the legislation, which would make daylight saving time permanent year-round
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A measure to make daylight saving time permanent across the U.S. has cleared another hurdle, with the U.S. Senate approving the Sunshine Protection Act. The act would put an end to the ‘spring forward,’ ‘fall back’ time change.
However, area health experts are weighing in on the benefits and drawbacks of a move like this. University of Kentucky Professor of Biology Dr. Bruce O’Hara says doing away with the back and forth time shift could be beneficial.
“Even though we avoid that daylight savings shift which is most extreme, with people having to suddenly shift an hour, people now are on permanent daylight savings, and the sun is still the sun even if you pretend to look at the clock,” said Dr. O’Hara.
However, he believes standard time is a better permanent option as people would wake up with light rather than end the day with more light.
“I would say getting up with the light and getting that morning light is much more beneficial to depression and other mental health issues,” said Dr. O’Hara.
However, New Vista Clinician Educator Natasha Painter says the move could help with seasonal affective disorder during the darker winter months, as well as help to instill lasting habits, like exercising after school or work.
“The idea, I’m hoping, is that we’ll see a drop in depression in the winter time because there is that extra hour of daylight, and also people will be more active. Exercise is a big part of our mental health, and so getting our bodies moving and going on that run or taking that walk after dinner, that’s going to help us also when it comes to physical health,” said Painter.
However, there’s some concern about kids going to school more months out of the year when it’s darker out. Clark County Schools parent Amanda Baker says she would be concerned about her 11-year-old and 17-year-old children standing outside for the bus in the dark.
“I don’t think people realize that kids in bus stops are already in danger from people out there who are just not good people. And then you put them in the dark, and possibly no other adults around, and it could be possibly be more dangerous because now everything is dark,” said Baker.
The Sunshine Protection Act passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate and now heads to the House. If enacted into law, the change would take effect in November of 2023.