My own take is that the sleeplessness of economists is a fact begging for an unsubstantiated and unproveable hypothesis.
Most Sleep-Deprived 6h57m Home Health Aides 7h Lawyer 7h1m Police Officers 7h2m Physicians, Paramedics 7h3m Economists 7h3m Social Workers 7h3m Computer Programmers 7h5m Financial Analysts 7h7m Plant Operators 7h8m Secretaries
Does a miserable economy cause economists to sleep less, as they internalize the pain of others? This seems implausible, because it would require that economists care about others.
Is economics the kind of field that tends to attract those who have trouble sleeping? Perhaps only those who have physical trouble in sleeping can make it through the economics curriculum, while normal sleepers will perpetually be dozing off through the required classes.
Is economics a field that attracts hypercompetitive people who can't sleep because they fear that, somewhere, some other economist might be getting ahead of them? This would also help explain why economists have a tendency to believe that all other economic actors are hypercompetitive, too--they are just projecting their own personalities.
Perhaps the lack of sleep helps to explain why economists have such a difficult time perceiving the reality around them, and thus why their advice is sometimes so weirdly out-of-synch with the actual economy.
And of course, one possible response is: "Who cares why economists are sleeping less? As long as economists are suffering in some way, the sun will shine just a little brighter today."
Further hypotheses are solicited. Send suggestions to <firstname.lastname@example.org>.