Sleep Habits Cost You Money

Insomnia can hurt job productivity and your wallet

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Missing sleep is not only bad for your health, but new research shows that it can hurt the economy, too.

Insomnia costs the average American worker more than 11 days, or $2,280, in lost productivity each year. On a larger scale, poor sleep habits are taking an estimated $63 billion annual bite out of the U.S. economy.

"Improve your sleep habits to improve your pocketbook."

A recent study shows that a while most sleep-deprived employees do not miss work because they are tired, they are not performing at peak efficiency while on the job.

Researchers studied the sleep habits and work performance of 7,428 people and found a direct connection between insomnia and productivity. About 23 percent of overall American workers have insomnia, with women somewhat more prone to sleeplessness than men. Age also made a difference, as only 14 percent of those 65 and older reported bouts of insomnia.

The study’s primary author, Ronald C. Kessler, Ph.D., said that while the problem is often overlooked by many businesses, few other conditions have a greater effect on productivity in an information-based economy.

The study suggests that with the amount of money at stake, employers may want to consider screening employees for sleep issues and offering treatment for those with a problem. Treatments can include drug therapy, use of sleep aids, and even behavior modification therapy. Costs range from $200 for some sleep aids to up to $1,200 for other types of therapy.

There are a number of other ways to deal with the problem, including looking at the employee’s personal habits. Simply changing habits such as excessive caffeine consumption or late-night television watching can be enough to overcome insomnia. It suggests individuals keep a sleep diary in order to identify habits and behaviors that contribute to poor sleep, and then use that information to make changes to get more rest.

However, researchers warn that dwelling too much on your sleeplessness can sometimes make the problem worse. Stress over worrying about your job performance can cause a rush of adrenaline, making it that much harder to sleep. They recommend adopting techniques that will help you relax at bedtime.

The study was published in The Sleep Journal.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
September 2, 2011
Last Updated:
September 7, 2011