Sleep Deprivation or lack of sleep among the U.S. working population is costing the economy up to $411 billion a year, which is 2.28 percent of the country’s GDP, said a report by RAND Europe. Sleep deprivation leads to a higher mortality risk and lower productivity levels among the workforce, it said.
A person who sleeps on average less than 6 hours a night has a 13% higher mortality risk than someone sleeping between 7 and 9 hours, while those sleeping between 6 and 7 hours a day have a 7% higher mortality risk, they found. Sleeping between 7 and 9 per night is described as the “healthy daily sleep range”.
In total, the U.S. loses just over 1.2 million working days a year due to sleep deprivation among its working population resulting in productivity losses at work which occur due to absenteeism, employees not being at work, and presenteeism, where employees are at work but not working at optimal level.
The study – ‘Why Sleep Matters – The Economic Costs of Insufficient Sleep’ quantified the economic losses due to lack of sleep among workers in five different countries – the U.S, UK, Canada, Germany, and Japan.
Marco Hafner, lead researcher of the report says: “Sleep deprivation not only influences an individual’s health and wellbeing but has a significant impact on a nation’s economy, with lower productivity levels and a higher mortality risk among workers.”
He also said, “If those who sleep under six hours a night increase their sleep to between six and seven hours a night, this could add $226.4 billion to the U.S. economy.”
The U.S. has the biggest financial losses of up to $411 billion, followed by Japan with losses of up to $138 billion. Germany (up to $60 billion), and the U.K (up to $50 billion). Canada was the nation with the best sleep outcomes, but still losing out $21.4 billion.