Insomnia Costs U.S. $63 Billion Annually in Lost Productivity
A new study surveyed about 7,400 employed individuals across the U.S. and found that 23% experienced some form of insomnia, like falling asleep or constantly waking, at least three times a week during the previous month, for at least 30 minutes at a clip.
Unsurprisingly, these sleep problems translated into problems at work. Insomniacs were just as likely to miss work as their rested colleagues, but they were so consistently worn out on the job that they cost employers nearly eight days of work in lost productivity annually, an amount roughly equal to an average of $2,280 per person.
Researchers projected their findings onto the entire U.S. workforces and estimated that poor job performance resulting from insomnia causes about $63 billion in losses to the nation's economy yearly.
The study's lead author, Ronald Kessler, Ph.D., a psychiatric epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School, in Boston, told Health.com that most study participants didn't physically miss work, but more often showed up too tired to effectively do their job (a phenomenon termed "presenteeism").
"Employers these days want their workers to stay home if they're sick. If they know you're absent, they can at least find ways to fill in for you," Kessler said. "But you can't stay home every day if you're chronically sleep deprived, so these people get in the habit of going to work and then not performing."
About a third of U.S. adults experience difficulties sleeping on a weekly basis, and an estimated 50 to 70 million complain of associated daytime impairment, the study notes.