COVID-19 and "natural" experiments arising from physical distancing: a hypothetical case study from chronobiology

Thomas C. Erren, Philip Lewis*, David M. Shaw

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Web of Science)


With countless "natural" experiments triggered by the COVID-19-associated physical distancing, one key question comes from chronobiology: "When confined to homes, how does the reduced exposure to natural daylight arising from the interruption of usual outdoor activities plus lost temporal organization ordinarily provided from workplaces and schools affect the circadian timing system (the internal 24 h clock) and, consequently, health of children and adults of all ages?" Herein, we discuss some ethical and scientific facets of exploring such natural experiments by offering a hypothetical case study of circadian biology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1115-1117
Number of pages3
JournalChronobiology International
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2020


  • Natural Experiment
  • physical Distancing
  • COVID-19
  • Sars-CoV-2
  • pandemic
  • circadian
  • sleep
  • light
  • mood
  • ethics

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