Early on Sunday morning, October 29, Israel moved from Summer Time (Daylight Saving Time or DST) to Winter Time (Standard Time or ST), gaining an extra hour of sleep and light earlier in the day at the expense of an earlier sundown. Summer Time returns five months later in March.
Its proponents argue that it reduces electricity use and road accidents.
Now, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has issued an updated position paper advocating the replacement of DST in the US with permanent ST. The researchers maintained that ST aligns best with human circadian biology (biological clocks), and that scientific evidence supports its “distinct benefits for health and safety, while also underscoring the potential harms that result from seasonal time changes to and from DST.”
Israel Standard Time (IST) – the standard time zone in Israel – is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
At the beginning of the British Mandate, the time zone of the Mandate area/present-day Israel and Jordan was set to Cairo’s time zone, which is also two hours ahead of GMT.
The unique Israel Standard Time came into effect in 1948 when the State of Israel was founded, giving it the power to decide its own time, including the enactment of DST.
Israel’s DST switch is mindful of Shabbat
Israel switches to DST on Fridays because of Shabbat, instead of Sundays as most other countries do. Most of the US returns to ST when DST ends early on Sunday morning, November 5, at 2 a.m. – unlike Israel (and most of Europe, among other places), which returned early last Sunday, October 29, same time.
This means that for seven days every year, from the last Sunday of October to the first one of November, the time difference between Israel and those other countries is an hour less. For example, while New York (EST) was seven hours earlier than Israel until 2 a.m. October 29, it became just six hours earlier after that – and will revert back to being seven hours earlier again, same time early in the morning of November 5.
“By causing the human body clock to be misaligned with the natural environment, daylight saving time increases risks to our physical health, mental well-being, and public safety,” said lead author Dr. Muhammad Adeel Rishi, chairman of the AASM Public Safety Committee and a pulmonary, sleep medicine, and critical care specialist at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis. “Permanent standard time is the optimal choice for health and safety,” he declared.
The position statement was published in the academy’s official publication, the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.
“This position is supported by similar statements adopted by other organizations including the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms, National Sleep Foundation, Sleep Research Society, and American Medical Association,” Rishi said.
“Permanent standard time helps synchronize the body clock with the rising and setting of the sun,” added AASM president Dr. James Rowley. “This natural synchrony is optimal for healthy sleep, and sleep is essential for health, mood, performance, and safety.”
Natan Rothstein contributed to this report.