Sleepless Nights or Sleeping through It: The Impact of the 2008/2009 Economic Recession on American Sleep Patterns

Rachelle Hill, University of Minnesota

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a recession gripped the global economy from December of 2007 to June of 2009, but for many the “Great Recession” continued through 2010. Given that sleep is increasingly linked to health, in this study I examine the impacts of both the overall economic climate accompanying the Great Recession and actual job loss on 1) time spent sleeping, 2) the odds of reporting sleeplessness, and 3) the odds of reporting a sleep disruption. To address this question, I draw on the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) to examine sleep patterns before and during the recessionary years while also investigating the impact of being unemployed and of differences in the state-level unemployment rate. Results indicate that being unemployed, the state-level unemployment rate, and the recessionary time period are each separately related to time spent sleeping, sleeplessness, and sleep disruptions.

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Presented in Session 208: Economic Contractions and Health Behaviors