Sleeping patterns and psychological wellbeing

A new GLO Discussion Paper finds that individuals who sleep for at least 6 hours have improved mental health and are less likely to have suicidal thoughts.

The Global Labor Organization (GLO) is an independent, non-partisan and non-governmental organization that functions as an international network and virtual platform to stimulate global research, debate and collaboration.

GLO Discussion Paper No. 550, 2020

Sleeping patterns and psychological wellbeing: Evidence from young adults in the United StatesDownload PDF
Lalji, Chitwan & Pakrashi, Debayan

GLO Fellow Debayan Pakrashi

Author Abstract: One in every six U.S. adults suffers from mental health problems. Mental illnesses, as measured in disability-adjusted life years, account for nearly 6.2% of the total disease burden worldwide and are considered to be one of the leading causes of death by injury, second only to road accidents. For the year 2010 alone, the estimated global direct and indirect economic cost of mental illnesses was reported to be US$2.5 trillion and this is expected to double by 2030. With a “20% increase in service coverage for severe mental disorder”, suggested by the World Health Assembly by the year 2020 for the WHO Member states, examining alternative behavioral changes to reduce mental health problems are worth examining. Using the detailed National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health dataset and applying a wide range of econometric techniques we study the causal impact of sleeping pattern on various subjective wellbeing indicators among young U.S. adults. We find robust evidence that individuals who sleep for at least 6 hours have improved mental health and are less likely to have suicidal thoughts. Additionally, our estimates highlight that those who sleep early have better mental health and reduced probability of having suicidal thoughts or going to a counselor. Waking up early is also found to result in better physical health and lower probability of having suicidal thoughts.

GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS,  EconPapers)Complete list of all GLO DPs – downloadable for free.


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