Sleep And Wages: Part Two


Highways Agencys Images are protected by copyright. This Image cannot be used without a license agreement. You must comply with the license applicable to the reproduction of this Image. Terms and Conditions at

This past summer, we reported on a study showing truck drivers diagnosed with OSA who were compliant with their treatment saved employers big money.

Now another paper reveals that extra sleep could translate into more wages.

The study is called “Time Use and the Labor Market: The Wage Returns to Sleep” and suggests that per the authors’ research, a one-hour weekly increase in sleep increases wages by up to half as much as a worker could expect from an additional year of education.

But it’s not so easy a formula as sleep more, earn more, the paper says. Here’s what the study reveals.

Time Zones and Sleep: the Study Methodology

622px-us-timezones-svgThe fascinating study utilized time zones to come to its surprising conclusions about work, sleep, and wages.

The study made use of a natural occurrence: sunset at different time zones across the U.S.

On average, people sleep longer when the sun sets earlier, according to prior research. Sunset time varies according to the time of year and per Daylight Savings v. Standard time; when sunset is one hour later, sleep is reduced by about 20 minutes a week.

To attempt to get everyone on the same work, school and sleep page – more or less – we utilize time zones. But sunset time can vary considerably in any given time zone from east to west, the researchers noted. By studying sleep length across a given time zone, the researchers observed that an hour more sleep resulted in an average of a 1.3% increase in wages in the short-term and 5% over the long-term.

Implications of More Sleep and Higher Wages17123251389_bed3c3a1ba_b

In addition to the worker and his/her family benefiting from better wages, the economy gets a boost too, the study authors noted.

Particularly, the local economy tends to benefit, with better sleep/higher wage counties experiencing higher home values an an average of 6% higher median household income.

Something to Sleep On

But not so fast, critics of the study say. Other factors need to be considered. For example, higher income could mean greater peace of mind and better sleep, making this a chicken-or-egg question. In addition, higher surrounding income tends to mean a higher income for the individual.

But with the economic differences notable per sunset times, the results are promising.

In the meantime, work hard, dress right, be a team player – and get your sleep!