In this day and age, slumber feels just like a luxury that few people can manage. We stay up late to finish work, to catch up with buddies, to stare at our smartphones, or simply because we are too stressed out to drift off. However, according to another study, the dearth of sleep in America may be costing us large—to the tune of $411 billion a year.
A team of policy wonks, and economists, psychologists from the Rand Corporation, a non-profit think tank, came up with this specific estimate after reviewing previous studies and plugging numbers into an economic model.
A lot more than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep. That is bad. Besides making you more vulnerable to accidents, insufficient sleep is linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, as well as other health conditions.
Dying is a small setback for you personally, obviously, but it is also bad for the economy, which loses a worker when you go.
Moreover, also if when your sleepiness does not kill you, it kills your productivity. In line with the Britain's Most Healthful Workplace survey of 66,000 workers, the Rand researchers calculated that someone who gets less than six hours of sleep per night loses 2.4 percent productivity compared to someone who got a full night's rest. That adds up to losing about six extra days of work per year, either through low productivity or the usage of sick days.
Dying is a small drawback in your case, of course, but it is also bad for the market.
Those who sleep six to seven hours a night do slightly better. Nevertheless they still feel the consequences of sleep loss.
Those extra days off may not seem like much, but when multiplied across the whole sleep-deprived American workforce it adds up to the loss of 1.23 million working days. Ouch.
Moreover, what about the following generation of the workforce? Studies have shown that when schools delay their starting times by an hour or so, kids do better in class. The authors indicate that by simply driving children to wake up too early, we might be limiting skill development and their academic accomplishment, which then damages the market.
The study is not perfect. Relying on survey data has its troubles. Individuals may misremember or misreport their behaviours, and also the outcomes and hazard of death or lower productivity can not directly link slumber lack. However, by getting a price tag on sleep reduction, the study might encourage individuals and their companies to make a move about it.
"[S]olving the issue of inadequate sleep signifies a potential ‘win-triumph’ scenario for individuals, companies and the wider society," the authors write.
Businesses might help their workers get more sleep by discouraging employees from working late, and by setting up offices with natural light and napping areas.
For those who would like to develop better sleep habits, the researchers recommend establishing a consistent wake-up time, getting exercise, reducing ingestion of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol through the night, and limiting display time before bed.