Inadequate sleep is costing Australia $66.3 billion a year

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Sleep
An Australian fan sleeps onboard a flight travelling from Brasilia to Cuiaba June 11, 2014. Reuters/Paul Hanna

Lack of sleep is costing Australia more than $66 billion annually. A research has found that those suffering from anxiety and insomnia and people employed in shift work contribute to such loss. With the findings, the head of Australian Sleep Health Foundation suggested that paying employees who get enough sleep would help.

On Tuesday, the Deloitte Access Economics released a new report commissioned by Sleep Health Foundation. It reveals that the loss consists of $26.2 billion in financial costs and $40.1 billion in the loss of wellbeing.

The foundation’s chair, Dorothy Bruck, told the Daily Telegraph that sleep must be a priority. “Sleep affects every single cell of the body in every organ of the body. With diabetes we have seen in studies of otherwise healthy people that when you deprive them of sleep their whole glucose metabolism is compromised and they actually go into a pre-diabetic state,” she said.

Insufficient sleep is highly common here, with an estimated 39.8 percent of Aussie adults experiencing some form of inadequate sleep. That means four in 10 adults or 7.4 million people do not get enough sleep.

Sleep deprivation was linked to 3,017 deaths in 2016-17. Among the causes of deaths are heart disease and diabetes, which are linked to sleep disorders. The report also indicated that heart disease, diabetes, and weight gain also coincide with lack of sleep.

Mark Bertolini, the head of US health insurance company Aetna, introduced a program last year that paid employees who regularly get seven or more hours of night sleep. The program was designed to boost workers’ productivity.

Australian Sleep Health Foundation head David Hillman told news.com.au that introducing a similar program in Australian workplaces can help those who are not getting enough night sleep. He explained that one in four Aussie adults who are get insufficient shut eye are existing in a “sleep restricted state” where they do not perform as well as they could be.

“This CEO [Mark Bertolini] obviously recognises that you can turn up to work and be able to function, but not optimally,” he said. What Bertolini wants is optimal performance, and that’s what sleep gives his employees, Hillman added.

He stated that the elements in a person’s life are his work, family, social life, social media and sleep. The bit is that many people squeezed out sleep, and it is causing negative health outcomes and compromising productivity at work.

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