Lack of sleep costing United Kingdom economy up to £40b a year

Rand calculated that relative to the size of each country's economies, Japan had the greatest drop in productivity due to sleep deprivation, with an annual loss of $138 billion (£110 billion) - 2.9 per cent of its GDP.

There's more bad news for the sleep deprived, according to researchers at RAND Europe, part of the RAND Corporation: Sleep deprivation increases the risk of mortality. In fact, short sleepers seem to die younger of any cause than people who sleep about 6.5 to 7.5 hours a night, TIME reported.

Inadequate sleep is more than an inconvenience - a new report shows it costs the US economy a whopping $41 billion each year and a staggering amount of productivity too.

Research firm Rand Europe assessed the economic impact of a lack of sleep in the United Kingdom, the US, Germany, Japan and Canada. However, the USA suffers the most from sleep deprivation, costing its economy roughly $411 billion each year. The study found that people who slept for six hours or less each night and have problems staying asleep had a 48 percent higher risk of developing or dying from heart disease.

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.

Sleep deprivation also leads to the USA losing about 1.2 million working days a year. And even Canada, the nation with the best sleep outcomes, is still losing $21.4 billion from workers who need more rest.

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Safwan Badr, past president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and a sleep expert with Detroit Medical Center and Wayne State University, explains how sleep deprivation is associated with an increased risk of many serious health problems.

Like many people, you probably haven't been getting enough sleep.

"The effects from a lack of sleep are massive". "In the long run, this research may help to change the fallacious assumption that productivity and presenteeism are perfectly correlated, and encourage more open dialogues around the impact of poor sleep on a number of aspects of life".

The group has used data on sleep duration from five different countries and large employer-employee databases to compute projected conclusions from a lack of sleep among employees. The report Why Sleep Matters-The Economic Costs of Insufficient Sleep involves independent research and analysis from RAND Europe.

The report called on employers to recognise the importance of sleep and build facilities for employees to take daytime naps.

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.

  • Marjorie Miles