Disability and sleep duration: Evidence from the American Time Use Survey

Carrie L. Shandra, Ph.D., Allison Kruger, M.P.H., Lauren Hale, Ph.D.

Disability and Health Journal, Vol. 7, Issue 3, p325–334
Published online: February 20, 2014
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dhjo.2014.02.002


Regular short and long sleep durations are associated with increased mortality and morbidity. While previous research shows significant sleep disparities between people with and without disabilities, less is known about the association between different types of disability and high-risk sleep using nationally representative data.


We examine the association between short and long sleep durations and having a work disability or an impairment in sensory, cognitive, or physical functioning among a nationally representative sample of working-age adults in the United States.


We estimate multinomial logistic regression models using data from the 2003–2012 American Time Use Survey to identify how different types of disabling conditions – net of other sociodemographic factors – relate to the likelihood of reporting short (6 h or fewer) or long (9 h or more) sleep, versus mid-range (between 6 and 9 h) sleep.


For respondents with work disabilities versus those without work disabilities, the relative risk of short and long sleep is 1.4 and 1.5 times (respectively) that of those with mid-range sleep. The risk of short and long sleep durations is also higher among respondents with cognitive, physical, or multiple impairments.


Individuals with disabilities are less likely than those without disabilities to have optimal sleep durations. These results demonstrate the importance of health promotion services among this population, with specific attention to sleep hygiene interventions.