Unemployment Disrupts Sleep
Although there is a substantial literature indicating that unemployment and joblessness have profound adverse impacts on individuals’ health and wellbeing, there is relatively little evidence of their impact on sleep. Using data for over 3.5 million individuals in the United States over the period 2006-2019 from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey series we show sleep disruption patterns that vary by labor market status. We look at sleep measured by hours in a day and days in a month and whether sleep is disturbed over a fortnight, as indicated by problems falling or staying asleep or staying asleep too much. We find the short-term unemployed suffer more short and long sleep than the employed and are more likely to suffer from disturbed sleep. These problems are greater still for the long-term unemployed and for the jobless who say they are unable to work.
We thank Carol Graham, Jonathan Rauch, Chris Ruhm, Doug Staiger and Jonathan Skinner for helpful comments and suggestions. Alex Bryson thanks the Health Foundation for funding (grant number 789112) The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.