May 2015

IZA DP No. 9088: Does Daylight Saving Time Really Make Us Sick?

revised version published as 'Sleep, Health, and Human Capital: Evidence from Daylight Saving Time' in: Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2020,170, 174-192

This paper comprehensively studies the health effects of Daylight Saving Time (DST) regulation. Relying on up to 3.4 million BRFSS respondents from the US and the universe of 160 million hospital admissions from Germany over one decade, we do not find much evidence that population health significantly decreases when clocks are set forth by one hour in spring. However, when clocks are set back by one hour in fall, effectively extending sleep duration for the sleep deprived by one hour, population health slightly improves for about four days. The most likely explanation for the asymmetric effects are behavioral adjustments by marginal people in spring.