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Circadian Rhythms, Sleep and Cognitive Skills: Evidence from an Unsleeping Giant

Author

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  • Giuntella, Osea

    (University of Pittsburgh)

  • Han, Wei

    (University of Oxford)

  • Mazzonna, Fabrizio

    (USI Università della Svizzera Italiana)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the effects of sleep duration on cognitive skills and depression symptoms of older workers in China. Cognitive skills and mental health have been associated with sleep duration and are known to be strongly related to economic behavior and performance. However, causal evidence is lacking and little is known about sleep deprivation in developing countries. We exploit the relationship between circadian rhythms and bedtime to identify the effects of sleep using sunset time as an instrument. Using the Chinese Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study, we show that a later sunset time reduces significantly sleep duration and that sleep duration increases cognitive skills and eases depression symptoms of workers aged over 45 years. The results are driven by employed individuals living in urban areas, who are more likely to be constrained by rigid working schedules. On the contrary, we find no evidence of significant effects on self-employed and farmers.

Suggested Citation

  • Giuntella, Osea & Han, Wei & Mazzonna, Fabrizio, 2016. "Circadian Rhythms, Sleep and Cognitive Skills: Evidence from an Unsleeping Giant," IZA Discussion Papers 9774, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9774
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    Cited by:

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    2. Ezra Golberstein & Christoph Kronenberg, 2022. "Mental health economics—Social determinants and care‐use," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(S2), pages 3-5, October.
    3. Osea Giuntella & Sally McManus & Redzo Mujcic & Andrew J. Oswald & Nattavudh Powdthavee & Ahmed Tohamy, 2023. "The Midlife Crisis," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 90(357), pages 65-110, January.
    4. Giuntella, Osea & Lonsky, Jakub & Mazzonna, Fabrizio & Stella, Luca, 2021. "Immigration policy and immigrants’ sleep. Evidence from DACA," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 182(C), pages 1-12.
    5. Jelnov, Pavel, 2021. "Sunset Long Shadows: Time, Crime, and Perception of Change," IZA Discussion Papers 14770, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Jin, Lawrence & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2020. "Sleep, health, and human capital: Evidence from daylight saving time," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 170(C), pages 174-192.
    7. Billari, Francesco C. & Giuntella, Osea & Stella, Luca, 2018. "Broadband internet, digital temptations, and sleep," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 58-76.
    8. Becchetti, Leonardo & Salustri, Francesco & Solferino, Nazaria, 2022. "The new industrial revolution: The optimal choice for flexible work companies," GLO Discussion Paper Series 1087, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    9. Giuntella, Osea & Hyde, Kelly & Saccardo, Silvia & Sadoff, Sally, 2020. "Lifestyle and Mental Health Disruptions during COVID-19," IZA Discussion Papers 13569, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Nguyen, Ha Trong & Zubrick, Stephen R. & Mitrou, Francis, 2024. "The effects of sleep duration on child health and development," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 221(C), pages 35-51.
    11. Jonathan James, 2023. "Let there be light: Daylight saving time and road traffic collisions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 61(3), pages 523-545, July.
    12. Joan Costa‐Font & Sarah Fleche & Ricardo Pagan, 2024. "The welfare effects of time reallocation: evidence from Daylight Saving Time," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 91(362), pages 547-568, April.
    13. Emerald G. Heiland & Örjan Ekblom & Emil Bojsen-Møller & Lisa-Marie Larisch & Victoria Blom & Maria M. Ekblom, 2021. "Bi-Directional, Day-to-Day Associations between Objectively-Measured Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, and Sleep among Office Workers," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 18(15), pages 1-12, July.
    14. Hajdu, Tamás, 2023. "Temperature exposure and sleep duration: Evidence from time use surveys," GLO Discussion Paper Series 1328, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    15. Kajitani, Shinya, 2021. "The return of sleep," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 41(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    risky behaviors; cognitive skills; sleep deprivation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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