Increasing sleep for the urban poor: Evidence from India


Published 25.03.20
Photo credit:
McKay Savage/flickr

Studies in the US point to significant productivity benefits from sleeping more, but does this apply to low-income workers in developing countries?

Many researchers have suggested that increased sleep at night translates into improved working outcomes, such as higher productivity. But while these researchers have often focused on settings where sleep quality is high, workers in many developing countries suffer from low sleep quality due to factors such as noise, heat, and mosquitoes. In this VoxDev talk, Gautam Rao and Frank Schilbach discuss an innovative experiment that targeted increased sleep among low-income workers in Chennai, India. Fascinatingly, they find that increased sleep at night did not have a positive effect on a range of outcomes including work, decision-making, and health. But can naps at work do the trick?