Lack of sleep slowing economic growth

  | James Innes

A new study published by research firm Rand Europe, has highlighted the impact on major economies of a lack of sleep amongst workers. The study evaluated the economic impact of insufficient sleep in the US, Canada, UK, Germany and Japan.

It found that the economic impact of tired employees who are either less productive or absent from work altogether is considerable, impacting economic growth and national GDPs. The biggest impact is on health – those sleeping less than 6 hours a night are 13% more likely to die than those sleeping between 7 and 9 hours.

The US tops the list with 1.2 million working days a year lost, costing US $411bn or 2.28% of GDP, followed by Japan which recorded a loss of 600,000 working days a year, at a cost of US $138bn or 2.98% to the Japanese economy. The UK and Germany both lost 200,000 working days a year because of the problem, whilst Canada lost 80,000 work days a year.

Marco Hafner, a researcher with Rand Europe, commented: “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.”

The report called on employers to recognise the value and importance of sleep, urging them to build nap rooms. It also said that staff should be discouraged from the excessive use of “electronic devices” after office hours.

Individuals are encouraged to try and get between seven and nine hours sleep a night, and to try and wake up every day and exercise to improve the quality of their sleep.

Hafner, the report’s main author, said that small changes in the quality of sleep people experienced could make a substantial economic impact. Taking the UK as an example, he said that if those currently sleeping less than 6 hours a night could increase this to between six and seven hours, it would add £24bn (US $30bn) to the nation’s economy.

Source: BBC

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