After a long holiday break, I’m back with the first installment of the sleep survey analysis. Folks had very strong opinions. Two respondents literally wrote “Sleep is the best” in the comments, which made me think of the person who wrote “Bread is the best” in the comments of the first survey. I’m now contemplating a survey forcing folks to choose what is actually the best thing by pitting all of life’s pleasures against one another. Anyway, lots of fun sleep data to dig into over the coming weeks, but for now, I’m focusing on how we feel about changing times.
First, changing time is painful. I asked our panel, “Suppose you take a one-week trip to a place 7 time zones away. How much does jet lag impact you?” While there were a handful of respondents who claim to suffer no ill effects from such a trip, two-thirds of respondents feel at best “pretty tired”. And of those, 13% (including me) agreed “I feel exhausted and/or am much dumber than normal.” Interestingly, these results didn’t seem to vary in any meaningful way by age, gender, region, or overseas travel frequency.
Chart 1: Jet Lag Impact from 7-Time Zone Shift
The next question shifted the focus from how we feel to how we behave. I asked folks, “Suppose you take a two-day trip to a place 3 time zones away. What best describes your approach to schedule?” Only a third of respondents would choose to fully shift their hours to match those of the time zone they’re traveling to. A fifth would actually choose to stay on their home time zone schedule, and the largest chunk of respondents would split the difference. Again, results didn’t vary meaningfully by demographics.
Chart 2: Approach to 3-Time Zone Shift
So switching time is annoying/painful. In one case, it CAN be avoided based on public policy. I’m talking Daylight Saving Time (DST). While DST is common in the US and Europe, most of the world tried it and ditched it. Last year, 40 state legislatures considered bills that would have altered their approach to DST. How does our panel feel about DST? Only 18% prefer what is actual policy in most of the US and Europe, switching back and forth every year. Over a third would like to just stay on standard time year round, and almost half would like to just stay on daylight time year round.
Chart 3: Preferred Approach to Setting Time
Interestingly, these results did vary somewhat by age and gender. It’s clear that no group likes switching back and forth. However, younger respondents were consistently more in favor of sticking with standard time while older respondents prefer sticking with daylight time. Furthermore, for every single age cohort, men were more likely than women to prefer daylight time.
Chart 4: Preferred Approach to Setting Time by Age and Gender
I have no reasonable explanation for why this should be the case. If you have ideas, share them in comments!