Chronotype, health and family: The role of biology, socio- and natural environment and their interaction (CHRONO)


Principal Investigator: Melinda Mills

Associate Researchers: David Brazel, Xuejie Ding


The widespread use of electronic devices, artificial light and rise of the 24-hour economy means that more individuals experience disruption of their chronotype, which is the natural circadian rhythm that regulates sleep and activity levels. The natural and medical sciences focus on the natural environment (e.g., light exposure), genetics, biology and health consequences, whereas the social sciences have largely explored the socio-environment (e.g. working regulations) and psychological and familial consequences of non-standard work schedules.

For the first time CHRONO bridges these disparate disciplines to ask: What is the role of biology, the natural and socio-environment and their interaction on predicting and understanding resilience to chronotype disruption and how does this in turn impact an individual’s health (sleep, cancer, obesity, digestive problems) and family (partnership, children) outcomes? CHRONO asks fundamentally new substantive questions to determine how chronotype disruption influences health and family outcomes. It examines Biology and Environment interaction: whether this is moderated by the natural or socio-environment. CHRONO aims to overturn long-held substantive findings of the causes and consequences of chronotype disruption.