A new report has found that the U.S. economy loses up to $411 billion a year due to a lack of sleep among its working population. This represents 2.28 percent of the country’s GDP.
Sleep deprivation increases the risk of mortality by 13 per cent and costs the U.S. around 1.2 million working days a year.
The higher risk of mortality and lower productivity levels resulting from sleep deprivation have a significant effect on the U.S. economy.
If nightly sleep would increase from under six hours to between six and seven hours, it could add $226.4 billion to the U.S. economy.
The research was done at the not-for-profit research organization RAND Europe, part of the RAND Corporation. The researchers found that sleep deprivation leads to lower productivity levels and a higher mortality risk among the workforce, putting a significant damper on a nation’s economy.
Researchers describe sleeping between seven and nine hours per night as the “healthy daily sleep range”. They found that a person who sleeps between six and seven hours a day have a 7 percent higher mortality risk than someone sleeping between seven and nine hours, while those sleeping on average less than six hours a night has a 13 percent higher mortality risk.
The U.S. loses just over 1.2 million working days a year due to sleep deprivation among its working population. Productivity losses at work occur through a combination of presenteeism, where employees are at work but working at a sub-optimal level and absenteeism – employees not being at work.
The study is the first of its kind to quantify the economic losses suffered because of the lack of sleep among workers. The study was conducted across five different countries – the U.S, UK, Canada, Germany, and Japan. A large employer-employee dataset and data on sleep duration was used to quantify the predicted economic effects from a lack of sleep among its workforce.
The report’s main author, Marco Hafner, is a research leader at RAND Europe. He notes that the study shows that the effects from a lack of sleep are huge. Not only does sleep deprivation influence an individual’s health and wellbeing, but it also has a substantial impact on a nation’s economy, with lower productivity levels and a higher mortality risk among workers.
Hafner adds that improving individual sleep habits and duration has huge implications. The research shows that small changes can make a big difference. He estimates that if those who sleep under six hours a night increase their sleep to between six and seven hours a night, it could add a massive $226.4 billion to the U.S. economy.
The U.S. suffers the biggest financial losses with up to 2.28 percent of its GDP, which equates to $411 billion, and 1.2 million working days lost due to sleep deprivation among its workforce. Japan is second on the list with 2.92 percent of its GDP (up to $138 billion) and loses around 600,000 working days.
Germany at 1.56 percent of its GDP (up to $60 billion) and just over 200,000 working days lost, and the U.K with 1.86 percent of its GDP (up to $50 billion) and just over 200,000 working days lost, have similar losses.
Canada was the nation with the best sleep outcomes, but still has significant financial and productivity losses with around 1.35 percent of its GDP (up to $21.4 billion) and just under 80,000 working days lost).