Our world is having an energy crisis. No, not that kind of energy. This has nothing to do with the fossil vs alternative fuels debate. We are talking about actual, human metabolic energy.
A new report from the non-profit organization RAND Corporation Europe has quantified the economic losses associated to sleep deprivation among workers throughout five countries: Canada, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan. It should come as no surprise that the US topped this lost with the most workdays lost to poor sleep habits, also suffering the biggest financial losses (upwards of $411 billion). Japan was the next highest, followed by Germany, then the United Kingdom, and then Canada.
This report takes into account many sleep studies over the years. It is not hard to find hard data on the benefits of a good night’s sleep. However, some people claim they can accomplish quite a lot more because they sleep less; though this may be anomalous.
According to health studies, a percent who consistently spends less than six hours a night sleeping has a 13 percent higher mortality risk. Studies suggest that between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per nigh—consistently–is the healthiest amount of sleep recommended for the average adult.
So how does this translate to “1.2 million lost working days”?
Well, the study suggest that some of these days are lost to workers simply not showing up at all (more commonly known in the professional world as “absenteeism”). In addition, the lack of sleep could also present at the workplace in the form of lower productivity, which means tasks take longer to accomplish.
The RAND report details:
• Sleep deprivation increases mortality risk by as much as 13 percent
• This sleep deprivation results in the US losing the collective equivalent of about 1.2 million working days a year
• A higher mortality risk coupled with lower productivity from bad sleep dramatically impacts the economy
• Improving sleep habits (from less than six hours to between six and seven hours) could potentially add more than $226 billion to the United States economy
Overall, lead report author Marco Hafner comments, “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, with lower productivity levels and a higher mortality risk among workers.”