A CNN reporter is now claiming that daylight savings time affects people of color in a disproportionate way, perhaps to the point that she might be suggesting daylight savings time is racist. In order to observe the end of Daylight Saving Time, the United States rolled back the clocks one hour this month, and most people got a bit more sleep than usual – but not everyone as much as others.
Lack of sleep and sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea, remain more prevalent in Black, Asian, and Hispanic or Latino communities, it is shown by growing evidence, and for physical health, these inequities can have long-term detrimental implications, even raising the risk of certain chronic diseases.
Daylight Saving Time itself has long been controversial in the United States, despite being enacted in the US to reduce electricity usage by extending daylight hours, said the report on CNN.
It was advocated by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the Sleep Research Society, and other medical groups to end the Daylight Saving Time practice, calling for the adoption of a permanent standard time that would not involve shifting forward each spring and falling back each autumn.
This month, in a news release, Dr. Beth Malow, professor of neurology and pediatrics and director of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Sleep Division in Nashville, said: “Daylight saving time is associated with increased risks of sleep loss, circadian misalignment, and adverse health consequences.”
In September, she was the author of a paper published in the journal Sleep, where she detailed the potential health benefits of adopting a permanent standard time. The Sunshine Protection Act was unanimously passed by the US Senate in March. The act would make Daylight Saving Time permanent across the country, which means that there would be no reverting to “standard time” from early November through mid-March. But before becoming effective in November 2023, the legislation would have to pass the House and earn President Joe Biden’s signature.
There is worry by some sleep researchers about the potential effects that continuing to change the standard time twice each year may have on sleep health inequities. A researcher and epidemiologist with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, who has been studying racial and ethnic disparities in sleep, Chandra Jackson said that poor sleep is associated with a host of poor health outcomes, including obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers, including of the breast and colon.
“Many of these health outcomes are more prevalent in the Black population,” added Jackson. She also said that experimental as well as observational studies have linked sleep to these health outcomes. “Therefore, sleep could be an important contributor,” Jackson said. “Fortunately, sleep health is largely modifiable,” she concluded.