Lack of sleep is costing UK economy billions, says report

Lack of sleep can cause reduced productivity and is linked to a higher mortality rate.

Reduced productivity and an increased risk of death linked to lack of sleep among USA workers cost the nation's economy as much as $411 billion a year.

The losses stemming from this cost the country 1.86% of its gross domestic product.

Research firm Rand Europe assessed the economic impact of a lack of sleep in the United Kingdom, the US, Germany, Japan and Canada.

Marco Hafner, a research leader at RAND Europe and the report's main author, says: "Our study shows that the effects from a lack of sleep are massive".

A lack of sleep among American workers is taking a toll on their health - and the nation's economy.

While health experts recommend 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, many in the US aren't meeting that recommendation. When it comes to the amount of money lost, the United States fares worse than some other wealthy countries from its lack of snoozing: We beat out Japan, which loses up to $138 billion annually (though Japan sacrifices a larger share of its GDP-almost 3 percent). An average of 209 000 working days are lost to sleep deprivation in Germany, according to the report.

As jobs demand people to work increasingly irregular hours and social media makes it harder for them to switch off their brains, Briton's are finding it tougher and tougher to get to sleep.

One-third of Americans are regularly sleep-deprived
One-third of Americans are regularly sleep-deprived

Sleeping between seven and nine hours per night was described as a "healthy daily sleep range" in the report, entitled Why Sleep Matters - The Economic Costs Of Insufficient Sleep.

Germany's reported loss of 200,000 working days from sleep deprivation resulted up to $60 billion (U.S.) as its economic cost, amounting to 1.56 percent of its GDP.

A number of harmful factors were found to be associated with not getting enough sleep.

Canada was the least affected, losing only $21.4 billion and 80,000 working days.

So far, research indicates the potential for massage therapy to benefit sleep, a benefit especially related to massage therapy's ability to reduce stress and effect the relaxation response-outcomes that have been studied more than massage and sleep have been.

In previous studies from the Rand organization, it was proved that those people who didn't sleep more than 6 hours a day were a 13 percent more likely to die at any given moment than those who had slept more than 7 hours.

The report recommends individuals to be very disciplined about their wake-up times, avoid electronics before bedtime, and get plenty of exercise during the day. Aetna is developing a sleep incentive program, and even the U.S. Army is using the "Performance Triad", that includes correct sleeping, diet, and physical fitness.

  • Delores Daniels