Their Why Sleep Matters – The Economic Cost of Insufficient Sleep
study found that the UK loses just over 200,000 working days a year due to sleep deprivation among its workforce.
This causes productivity to fall through a combination of absenteeism and presenteeism, where employees are at work, but are working at a sub-optimal level.
The report’s main author, Marco Hafner, said: “Our study shows that the effects from a lack of sleep are massive.
“Sleep deprivation not only influences an individual's health and well-being but has a significant impact on a nation's economy, with lower productivity levels and a higher mortality risk among workers.”
The research is the first of its kind and studied the economic losses due to a lack of sleep among workers in five different OECD countries – The US, UK, Canada, Germany and Japan.
This involved using a large employer-employee data set and data on sleep duration to quantify the predicted economic effect from a sleep deprived workforce.
The economic costs found were:
• US - £329bn – 2.28% of GDP – 1.2 million working days
• Japan - £105bn – 2.92% of GDP – 600,000 working days
• Germany - £48bn – 1.56% of GDP – 200,000 working days
• UK - £40bn – 1.86% of GDP – 200,000 working days
• Canada - £17bn – 1.35% of GDP – 80,000 working days
“Improving individual sleep habits and duration has huge implications, with our research showing that simple changes can make a big difference,” Hafner continued.
“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.”
In addition the report found that a person who sleeps on average less than six hours a night has a 13% higher risk of dying earlier than someone who sleeps between a ‘healthy’ seven and nine hours, while those sleeping between six and seven hours a day have a 7% higher mortality risk.