Not getting enough sleep at night can disrupt our physical and mental well-being, but now researchers are saying that sleep deprivation is taking a toll on the global economy too. Multiple factors are associated with having shorter sleep, such as being obese, drinking, smoking, not exercising, working irregular hours, and being stressed. Since more than 30% of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis, the CDC has declared insufficient sleep a public health problem. However, having insufficient sleep is not exclusively a US problem; it equally concerns other countries.
Sleep deprivation is linked to lower productivity at work, which results in a significant amount of working days being lost each year. According to a study by RAND Europe, 1.2M working days are lost in the US every year with costs equating to 2.28% of the country's GDP. This is followed by Japan, which loses ~600,000 working days per year; the UK and Germany lose over 200,000 working days; and Canada loses ~80,000 working days.
The US economy suffers the biggest impact by losing ~$411B annually due to having tired or absent employees. Japan loses $138B or 2.92% of its GDP, Germany loses $60B or 1.56% of its GDP, and the UK loses $50B or 1.86% of its GDP. Canada has the lowest financial losses due to lack of sleep–$21.4B, which is 1.35% of its GDP. The total cost of sleep deprivation for these four economies is $680B per year.
Sleep deprivation has far-reaching and expensive economic consequences because of the potential adverse effects of insufficient sleep on productivity. However, efforts to quantify the economic effects of sleep deprivation have been limited thus far. If people that slept under 6 hours started sleeping 6-7 hours then this could add $226.4B to the US, $75.7B to Japan, $34.1B to Germany, $29.9B to the UK, and $12B to the Canada.
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