Overworked and underslept? The changing sleep durations of men and women in Sweden (1990-2010)

Jeff Neilson, Lund University

In 2012, people in Sweden worked more hours per week than at any time since 1991, a positive development in many economic respects, but one which may have negative health implications, since hours of paid work and sleep duration are highly and inversely correlated. Short sleep durations are understudied in the work-life balance literature, but when sustained over time, are a major predictor of all-cause mortality and morbidity. Fatigued workers are also less productive and pose a risk to workplace safety. This paper investigates the prevalence of short sleep durations in Sweden, according to gender, weekly work hours, and stage of the family life cycle, using three nationally representative time use surveys from 1990-91, 2000-01, and 2010-11 (N=16,440). Nested logistic regression models are used to identify the determinants of short sleep durations and the most at risk groups, while uncovering changing dimensions between 1990 and 2010. Preliminary results indicate that in each year, men and women working 45+ hours per week are most at risk of short sleep, which is particularly the case for working mothers and fathers of young children. Over time, as women have increased their paid work hours, their risk of short sleep has also increased, which is especially true for mothers. Men with and without children are however no more or less at risk over time. Findings suggest that the recent increase in work hours may have negative health implications for working mothers and gendered consequences at the societal level.

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Presented in Poster Session 1