Healthcare news

Lack of sleep is costing the UK economy up to £40 billion

A survey involving shift workers has revealed that a very high percentage get insufficient sleep and were likely to be overweight

IT turns out that a bad night’s sleep doesn’t just affect your mood the next day, but has a much wider impact. Lack of sleep is costing the UK economy billions and increasing the risk of death for large numbers of tired Britons, according to a new report.

Scientists evaluated the economic cost of poor sleep in five countries: the UK, US, Canada, Germany and Japan.

They found that the effect of sleep deprivation on productivity and health was losing the UK up to a whopping £40 billion each year – nearly two per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

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People of any age who slept less than six hours a night on average were 13 per cent more likely to die than those sleeping between seven and nine hours.

Sleeping between seven and nine hours per night was described as a “healthy daily sleep range” in the report, entitled Why Sleep Matters – The Economic Costs Of Insufficient Sleep.

Lead investigator Dr Marco Hafner, from the non-profit research organisation RAND Europe, said: “Our study shows that the effects from a lack of sleep are massive.

Baby monkey
(Michael Probst/AP)


“Sleep deprivation not only influences an individual’s health and wellbeing but has a significant impact on a nation’s economy, with lower productivity levels and a higher mortality risk among workers.”

He added: “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.”

Sleeping boy
(Boris Grdanoski/AP)


Of all the countries studied, the US experienced the biggest financial burden – up to 411 billion dollars (£329 billion) – due to insufficient sleep. It also suffered the most working days lost as a result of sleep deprivation, 1.2 million.

A poll of 2,000 British adults published earlier this year by the Royal Society for Public Health found that people in the UK slept an average of 6.8 hours.

So maybe tonight it would be a good idea to switch off Netflix and catch some z’s rather than binging until the early hours of the morning.

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