Lack of Sleep is a Global Health
Problem That Has Impact on a
ACCORDING TO RESEARCHERS at the
nonprofit research organization RAND Europe, part of the
RAND Corporation, sleep deprivation is a global health
problem that leads to a higher mortality risk and lower
productivity levels among the workforce, which in the
process puts a significant damper on a nation’s economy.
The study, “Why Sleep Matters — The Economic Costs
of Insufficient Sleep,” is the first of its kind to quantify the
economic losses due to lack of sleep among workers in five
different countries—the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany and
Japan. The study uses a large employer-employee dataset
and data on sleep duration from the five countries to
quantify the predicted economic effects from a lack of sleep
among its workforce.
Findings from the study estimate the annual economic
losses of the following nations due to their workforce’s poor
productivity levels from lack of sleep:
US$411 Billion U.S.
US$138 Billion Japan
US$60 Billion Germany
US$50 Billion United Kingdom
US$21.4 Billion Canada
“Improving individual sleep habits and duration has huge
implications, with our research showing that simple changes
can make a big difference. For example, if those who sleep
under six hours a night increase their sleep to between six
and seven hours a night, this could add US$226.4 billion to
the U.S. economy,” says Marco Hafner, RAND Europe
research leader and main author.
To improve sleep outcomes, the report recommends
individuals set consistent wake-up times, limit their use of
electronics before bed, and exercise during the day.
Employers should recognize the importance of sleep and
their role in its promotion. The research suggests building
brighter workspaces and discouraging the extended use of
cell phones and email after working hours.