Sleep Deprivation Wake Up Call For Businesses

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Written By Mostafa Moradi

Businesses are finally waking up to how much tired workers are costing them after a new survey revealed the impact of sleep deprivation on health and productivity.

Billions of pounds of output are lost because workers are under-performing or not turning up, says a report by researchers Rand Europe.

After discussing sleeping habits with around 62,000 people, researchers calculated the number of lost working hours was a staggering 1.86% of world economic growth a year.

In financial terms, this adds up to billions of pounds of growth.

Nightmare scenario for business

Health was another major issue – with the study disclosing that anyone sleeping for six hours or less a night was 13% more likely to die younger than someone asleep between seven and nine hours.

The study also considered how sleeping habits varied between several countries and found:

  • The USA loses 1.2 million working days a year, costing £328 billion or 2.28% of GDP
  • Japan loses 600,000 working days a year, costing £110 billion or 2.92% of GDP
  • UK loses 200,000 working days a year, costing £40 billion, or 1.86% of GDP
  • Germany loses 200,000 working days a year, costing £48 billion, or 1.56% of GDP
  • Canada loses 80,000 working days a year, costing £17 billion or 1.35% of GDP

“The effects from a lack of sleep are massive. Sleep deprivation not only influences an individual’s health and wellbeing but has a significant impact on a nation’s economy,” said Marco Hafner, research leader at Rand Europe and report author.

Nap rooms for snooze breaks

“Improving individual sleep habits and duration has huge implications, with our research showing that simple changes can make a big difference. 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 £24 billion to the UK economy.”

One suggestion from the report is for companies to build nap rooms for snooze breaks where workers can spend time relaxing.

Other recommendations include getting up and going to bed at the same time every day and exercising to help sleep.

Download the Rand Europe report Why sleep matters — the economic costs of insufficient sleep