CHRONIC SLEEP DEPRIVATION AMONG THE POOR- A LAB-AND-FIELD APPROACH IN INDIA

Principal Investigators: Gautam Rao (Harvard University), Frank Schilbach (Harvard University), Heather Schofield (University of Pennsylvania)
Research Team: Andrew Locke
LEAD Centre: Small Enterprise Finance Centre (SEFC)
Focus Area:
Project Geography: Tamil Nadu, India
Partner:
Status: Ongoing

Background:

Sleep deprivation is known to cause a variety of adverse effects on cognition and health. However, we know relatively little about the relationship between acute or chronic sleep deprivation and economic outcomes and decision-making. Furthermore, sleep patterns in developing countries remain largely unexplored, despite many environmental factors which have the potential to interfere with regular sleep.

In this study we use detailed wireless sleep measurement technologies and applied lab-in-the-field techniques to: 1) measure the prevalence and causes of sleep deprivation among low-income individuals, 2) assess the effectiveness of interventions to alleviate sleep deprivation in a real-world environment, and 3) estimate the causal impact of reduced sleep deprivation on cognitive function, decision-making, and economic outcomes.

Ultimately, the study will enroll roughly 250 individuals into a randomized control trial for four weeks each. The treatment arm will receive interventions to improve their sleep at home as well as a brief nap during the day, while the control arm will follow their standard sleep habits. All participants will engage in a battery of laboratory tasks measuring cognitive function, decision-making, and productivity weekly throughout the study as well as provide daily measures of sleep patterns, labor market outcomes, and cognitive function.