Report: Lack of sleep is costing the U.S. billions

Americans aren’t getting enough sleep, and the result isn’t just a rough day at work, but billions of dollars down the drain each year, a new report found.

A lack of sleep among U.S. workers costs the U.S. economy up to $411 billion dollars a year, according to researchers at the not-for-profit research organization RAND Europe.

According to the report, lack of sleep results in higher mortality risk and lower work productivity, causing U.S. companies to lose 1.2 million working days a year.

Researchers quantified the economic impact of lack of sleep by using data on sleep duration alongside employer-employee data in five countries: the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany and Japan.

Out of the five countries, the United States fared the worst, closely followed by Japan, which loses up to $138 billion a year and around 600,000 working days.

While health experts recommend 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, many in the U.S. aren't meeting that recommendation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three adults in the U.S. does not get enough sleep.

Sleeping less than seven hours can result in a slew of chronic health problems from obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure to heart disease and stroke, according to the CDC.

Marco Hafner, a research leader at RAND Europe and the report's main author, said the research shows that sleep habits have a massive effect on the worker's health, but also on the economy.

"Improving individual sleep habits and duration has huge implications, with our research showing that simple changes can make a big difference," he said. "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 $226.4 billion to the U.S. economy."

CDC recommendations on getting the sleep you need:

 

  • Avoid electronics before bed (TV, tablet, phones)
  • Go to bed at the same time each night
  • Rise at the same time each morning 

Follow Mary Bowerman on Twitter: @MaryBowerman 

Copyright 2016 KING


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