I think that the game would be better off running on a faster time scale. Instead of having a 24 hours day, shorten it to something like 6 hours. This will allow people to work more frequently, increase the demand for food and medical supplies, and reduce down time.
I think that a six hour cycle could work. If someone has FOMO about not getting all four cycles for a day then they could wake them selves up in the middle of the night to work the extra shift lol.
You could also add a feature to put a character to sleep for X hours. Then when someone is done for the day they could go to sleep and get some minor benefit like a little energy (as long as they have a home) that would make missing out on the work cycle not as bad, or at least feel not as bad.
Edit: Sleeping could also factor into how frequently someone gets sick. Well rested players would theoretically be more healthy and would not be sick as often as a player who never sleeps.