A Data-Informed Perspective on Public Preferences for Retaining or Abolishing Biannual Clock Changes.J Biol Rhythms. 2022 08; 37(4):351-357.JB
Scientific, public, and political discourse around the perennial changing of the clocks during the transitions into and out of daylight saving time (DST) is a touchstone issue for the translation of fundamental chronobiology into societal impacts. The Society for Research on Biological Rhythms, along with other sleep science bodies, has issued a position statement that advocates for the abolition of the biannual clock changes and the adoption of permanent standard time for the optimization of population circadian health. However, there is a paucity of data on preexisting public perceptions and preferences with regard to these issues. In this perspective, we examine 5 issues that we believe are pertinent for chronobiologists to consider to enable effective advocacy on these policies; in particular, we discuss public preference for permanent DST and steps that may need to be taken to understand this preference. We inform our discussion with reference to cross-sectional studies we undertook in Spring 2020 and Fall 2019, around the transition out of and into DST Ireland. We conclude that there appears to be a gap between existing public perceptions and preferences around the clock changes and chronobiological and sleep science-informed positions, and that the chronobiology community may benefit from interdisciplinary collaboration with colleagues with specific social sciences expertise to most effectively advocate for these research-informed positions.