Pulse May 2017 - Page 18

PULSE POINTS Lack of Sleep is a Global Health Problem That Has Impact on a Nation’s Economy ACCORDING TO RESEARCHERS at the nonprofit research organization RAND Europe, part of the RAND Corporation, sleep deprivation is a global health problem that leads to a higher mortality risk and lower productivity levels among the workforce, which in the process puts a significant damper on a nation’s economy. The study, “Why Sleep Matters — The Economic Costs of Insufficient Sleep,” is the first of its kind to quantify the economic losses due to lack of sleep among workers in five different countries—the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany and Japan. The study uses a large employer-employee dataset and data on sleep duration from the five countries to quantify the predicted economic effects from a lack of sleep among its workforce. Findings from the study estimate the annual economic losses of the following nations due to their workforce’s poor productivity levels from lack of sleep: US$411 Billion U.S. US$138 Billion Japan US$60 Billion Germany US$50 Billion United Kingdom US$21.4 Billion Canada “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 US$226.4 billion to the U.S. economy,” says Marco Hafner, RAND Europe research leader and main author. To improve sleep outcomes, the report recommends individuals set consistent wake-up times, limit their use of electronics before bed, and exercise during the day. Employers should recognize the importance of sleep and their role in its promotion. The research suggests building brighter workspaces and discouraging the extended use of cell phones and email after working hours. 16 PULSE ■ May 2017