Lack of Sleep Can Cost a Country's Economy Dearly

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Lack of Sleep Can Cost a Country's Economy Dearly
Lack of Sleep Can Cost a Country's Economy Dearly

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 30, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Reduced productivity and an increased mortality risk linked to lack of sleep among U.S. workers cost the nation's economy as much as $411 billion a year, more than 2 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), according to a report from the RAND Corp., a nonprofit research organization.

The United States suffers the largest economic toll and most working days lost due to sleep deprivation, compared with four other developed countries examined by the researchers.

Japan is second, losing up to $138 billion annually, which is 2.92 percent of its GDP. Japanese workers lose an average of 604,000 working days to a lack of sleep, the researchers found. Germany loses up to $60 billion a year, or 1.56 percent of its GDP. An average of 209,000 working days are lost to sleep deprivation in Germany, according to the report. The United Kingdom loses up to $50 billion annually, or 1.86 percent of its GDP to a lack of sleep. Approximately 207,000 working days are lost as a result of poor sleep in the United Kingdom. Canada was last on the list, but still loses about $21.4 billion to sleep deprivation. That's 1.35 percent of Canada's GDP. About 78,000 working days are lost.

"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," lead author Marco Hafner said in a RAND news release. "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 $226.4 billion to the U.S. economy."

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