Explaining sleep time – Hungarian evidences

Benedek Kovács, Lajos Bálint

Health, time allocation, sleeping time, labour market, family, gender, childcare

We spend about one-third of our life sleeping, which is essential for our physical and mental health. Research verified that both too much and too little sleep is associated with poor health, while the “golden mean” seems to be ideal. In general, sleep time forms a U-shaped curve over the life span. In our busy lifestyle, we can observe the conversion of sleep time to waking activities. In addition, some dimensions of social inequality may influence sleeping habits. At the same time, sleeping has a relation with families’ lifecycles, with working time, and with income, as well. In this paper we focus on the relationship between sleep and work-related time. Studies of sleep time are based on two types of theoretical traditions, one of which relies on rational choice theory, while the other emphasizes the role of the social structural elements. We argue that the two theoretical frameworks do not contradict. Our results, that based on the Hungarian Time Use Survey, reveal that rational calculation is determinant, but we also found evidences of structural effects.Our main finding is that sleep time is strongly linked to the degree of integration in the labour market.