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Early to Bed and Earlier to Rise: School, Maternal Employment, and Children’s Sleep

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  • Jay Stewart

    ()
    (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Abstract

School-age children need 10-11 hours of sleep per night. It has been well-documented that lack of sleep leads to diminished cognitive performance and that people who sleep less are more likely to be overweight or obese. I use data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) to examine two factors that can potentially influence the amount of time children sleep: school and maternal employment. I find that school-age children sleep less when school is in session than during the summer, and that they get less sleep on school nights than on non-school nights. Children go to bed about 38 minutes earlier on school nights, but wake up about 72 minutes earlier on school days. This translates into about 34 minutes less sleep on school nights compared with non-school nights, and implies that these children have a cumulative sleep deficit of over two-and-a-half hours by the time they arrive at school Friday morning. In addition to the lost sleep time, the earlier wake-up times on school days appear to disrupt children’s natural sleep cycles. Maternal employment affects children’s sleep time in the summer, because children wake up earlier on days that their mothers work. But during the school year, maternal employment effects are dominated by school effects.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in its series Working Papers with number 461.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bls:wpaper:ec130010

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Keywords: Sleep; school start times; maternal employment; time use;

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References

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  1. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Parental Employment and Child Cognitive Development," NBER Working Papers 7666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Morrill, Melinda Sandler, 2011. "The effects of maternal employment on the health of school-age children," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 240-257, March.
  3. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Harley Frazis & Jay Stewart, 2005. "Data Watch: The American Time Use Survey," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 221-232, Winter.
  4. Harley Frazis & Jay Stewart, 2007. "Where Does the Time Go? Concepts and Measurement in the American Time Use Survey," NBER Chapters, in: Hard-to-Measure Goods and Services: Essays in Honor of Zvi Griliches, pages 73-97 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Scott E. Carrell & Teny Maghakian & James E. West, 2011. "A's from Zzzz's? The Causal Effect of School Start Time on the Academic Achievement of Adolescents," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 62-81, August.
  6. Susanne James-Burdumy, 2005. "The Effect of Maternal Labor Force Participation on Child Development," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 177-211, January.
  7. Anderson, Patricia M. & Butcher, Kristin F. & Levine, Phillip B., 2003. "Maternal employment and overweight children," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 477-504, May.
  8. Charles L. Baum II, 2003. "Does Early Maternal Employment Harm Child Development? An Analysis of the Potential Benefits of Leave Taking," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 381-408, April.
  9. Rachel Gordon & Robert Kaestner & Sanders Korenman, 2007. "The effects of maternal employment on child injuries and infectious disease," Demography, Springer, vol. 44(2), pages 307-333, May.
  10. Angela Fertig & Gerhard Glomm & Rusty Tchernis, 2006. "The Connection Between Maternal Employment and Childhood Obesity: Inspecting the Mechanisms," Caepr Working Papers 2006-020, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  11. Stewart, Jay, 2009. "The Timing of Maternal Work and Time with Children," IZA Discussion Papers 4219, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  1. The lack of sleep of American school children
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2013-02-15 15:13:00

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