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

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  • Stewart, Jay

    () (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.

Suggested Citation

  • Stewart, Jay, 2013. "Early to Bed and Earlier to Rise: School, Maternal Employment, and Children's Sleep," IZA Discussion Papers 7143, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7143
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cawley, John & Liu, Feng, 2012. "Maternal employment and childhood obesity: A search for mechanisms in time use data," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 352-364.
    2. Jens Bonke & Jane Greve, 2012. "Children’s health-related life-styles: how parental child care affects them," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 557-572, December.
    3. Rachel Gordon & Robert Kaestner & Sanders Korenman, 2007. "The effects of maternal employment on child injuries and infectious disease," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 44(2), pages 307-333, May.
    4. Jay Stewart, 2010. "The Timing of Maternal Work and Time with Children," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 64(1), pages 181-200, October.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2004. "Parental Employment and Child Cognitive Development," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. Angela Fertig & Gerhard Glomm & Rusty Tchernis, 2009. "The connection between maternal employment and childhood obesity: inspecting the mechanisms," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 227-255, September.
    11. John Cawley & Feng Liu, 2007. "Mechanisms for the Association Between Maternal Employment and Child Cognitive Development," NBER Working Papers 13609, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Osea Giuntella & Wei Han & Fabrizio Mazzonna, 2017. "Circadian Rhythms, Sleep, and Cognitive Skills: Evidence From an Unsleeping Giant," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(5), pages 1715-1742, October.
    2. Giuntella, Osea & Mazzonna, Fabrizio, 2016. "If You Don't Snooze You Lose: Evidence on Health and Weight," IZA Discussion Papers 9773, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    maternal employment; school start times; time use; sleep;

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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