Lack of sleep is costing UK economy billions, says report
Lack of sleep is costing the UK economy billions and increasing the risk of death for large numbers of tired Britons, according to a new report.
Scientists evaluated the economic cost of poor sleep in five countries, the UK, US, Canada, Germany and Japan.
They found that the effect of sleep deprivation on productivity and health was losing the UK up to £40 billion each year - nearly 2% of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
People of any age who slept less than six hours a night on average were 13% more likely to die than those sleeping between seven and nine hours.
Sleeping between seven and nine hours per night was described as a "healthy daily sleep range" in the report, entitled Why Sleep Matters - The Economic Costs Of Insufficient Sleep.
Lead investigator Dr Marco Hafner, from the non-profit research organisation RAND Europe, said: " Our study shows that 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."
He added: "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 £24 billion to the UK economy."
The scientists reviewed available research evidence on links between sleep, health, mortality and productivity, collected survey data on sleep duration, and ran computer models to come up with their findings.
Of all the countries studied, the US experienced the biggest financial burden - up to 411 billion dollars (£329 billion) - due to insufficient sleep. It also suffered the most working days lost as a result of sleep deprivation, 1.2 million.
Japan lost up to £110 billion and 600,000 working days, and Germany up to £48 billion and just over 200,000 working days.
A poll of 2,000 British adults published earlier this year by the Royal Society for Public Health found that people in the UK slept an average of 6.8 hours.