Sleep by Mark Callow"Just one more level," and other Internet temptations cut your sleep. "Individuals with DSL access tend to sleep 25 minutes less than their counterparts without DSL Internet. They are significantly less likely to sleep between 7 and 9 hours... Furthermore, they are less likely to be satisfied with their sleep. These effects are mostly concentrated among younger adults."

I at first thought that claim implausible. Then I thought of all the nights I went to bed later to finish something on the computer, or when I just lost track of time surfing."High-speed Internet makes it very enticing to stay up later to play video games, surf the web and spend time online on social media."

Three Italian researchers used a large dataset of dairies collected by the German Socioeconomic Panel (SOEP). They made reasonable efforts to exclude other variables but the association continued. Broadband Internet, Digital Temptations, and Sleep by Billari, Giuntella, & Stella.

The association disappeared on weekends, when people could sleep later. But many of us have to get up for school or work, whether or not we were up late.

Other research has found that people who play computer games more than five hours in the evening sleep less and wake up more than those playing two hours. It's easy to understand how getting over-excited could affect your sleep.

Princeton economist Mark Aguilar studies changes in the supply of labor. He believes "that innovations to gaming/recreational computing since 2004 explain on the order of half the increase in leisure for younger men." Increase in leisure is a polite way of saying people work less. Some of us think that is a good thing, but apparently labor economists see less work time as a deficit. To isolate the many other factors, he compared results among states over 11 years.

None of these studies meets the requirements of evidence-based policy, although they appear well done.

Here are the abstracts of two of the studies.

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/8259/f39c342add126d40ed413f44ae48ccc1b2da.pdf

Broadband internet, digital temptations, and sleep

Highlights

There is a growing concern that the widespread use of computers, mobile phones and other digital devices before bedtime disrupts our sleep with detrimental effects on our health and cognitive performance.

However, there is little empirical evidence on the causal relationship between technology use near bedtime and sleep.

This paper studies the causal effects of access to high-speed Internet on sleep.

We find that DSL access causally reduces sleep duration and sleep satisfaction.

Abstract

There is a growing concern that the widespread use of computers, mobile phones and other digital devices before bedtime disrupts our sleep with detrimental effects on our health and cognitive performance. High-speed Internet promotes the use of electronic devices, video games and Internet addiction (e.g., online games and cyberloafing). Exposure to artificial light from tablets and PCs can alterate individuals’ sleep patterns. However, there is little empirical evidence on the causal relationship between technology use near bedtime and sleep. This paper studies the causal effects of access to high-speed Internet on sleep. We first show that playing video games, using PC or smartphones, watching TV or movies are correlated with shorter sleep duration. Second, we exploit historical differences in pre-existing telephone infrastructure that affected the deployment of high-speed Internet across Germany (see Falck et al., 2014) to identify a source of plausibly exogenous variation in access to Broadband. Using this instrumental variable strategy, we find that access to high-speed Internet (DSL) access reduces sleep duration and sleep satisfaction. Results are driven by individuals who face work or family time constraints.

Leisure Luxuries and the Labor Supply of Young Men

Mark Aguiar Mark Bils Kerwin Kofi Charles Erik Hurst

July 4, 2017

Abstract

Younger men, ages 21 to 30, exhibited a larger decline in work hours over the last fifteen years than older men or women. Since 2004, time-use data show that younger men distinctly shifted their leisure to video gaming and other recreational computer activities. We propose a framework to answer whether improved leisure technology played a role in reducing younger men’s labor supply. The starting point is a leisure demand system that parallels that often estimated for consumption expenditures. We show that total leisure demand is especially sensitive to innovations in leisure luxuries, that is, activities that display a disproportionate response to changes in total leisure time. We estimate that gaming/recreational computer use is distinctly a leisure luxury for younger men. Moreover, we calculate that innovations to gaming/recreational computing since 2004 explain on the order of half the increase in leisure for younger men, and predict a decline in market hours of 1.5 to 3.0 percent, which is 38 and 79 percent of the differential decline relative to older men