Sleep duration, life satisfaction and disability

Ricardo Pagan, Ph.D.

Disability and Health JournalVol. 10Issue 2p 334–343




Although sleep is considered an essential part of individuals’ lives, there are no previous studies analysing how sleep duration affects the levels of life satisfaction reported by males and females with disabilities.


To analyse and compare the impact of hours of sleep on life satisfaction scores reported by people without and with disabilities (stratified by sex) in Germany.


Using data taken from the German Socio-Economic Panel for the period 2008–2013, we estimate life satisfaction equations for males and females (running a fixed-effects model) which include a set of variables measuring the number of sleep hours on workdays and weekends.


A higher number of sleep hours on workdays increase life satisfaction for all males and females. However, the contribution of each hour of sleep on workdays is greater for males with disabilities in terms of life satisfaction, whereas for females no significant differences by disability status have been found. Although sleep hours on weekends also increase life satisfaction, the magnitude of the coefficients is relatively higher than that found for the corresponding hours of sleep on workdays, but only for the male sample (disabled or not).


The participation and commitment of policymakers, governments, trade unions, employers, and health care professionals are key aspects for developing and formulating new guidelines and specific measures that promote a healthy lifestyle and increase sleep duration. Such guidelines and measures are of essence for people with disabilities who are employed (e.g. using brief sleep opportunities during prolonged work periods, which can contribute to reducing fatigue, stress and anxiety).