Poor sleep costs the Canadian economy billions: report

Poor sleep habits among workers is costing the Canadian economy tens of billions of dollars per year, according to a new report | Shutterstock

Tomorrow (March 17) is World Sleep Day, according to a worldwide consortium of doctors and professors called the World Association of Sleep Medicine, and Rand Europe has released a new study that found the costs of sleep deprivation go well beyond physical symptoms.

Poor sleep is costing the Canadian economy up to $21.4 billion per year, according to the thinktank.

“Lack of sleep among the Canadian working population leads to a higher mortality risk—13% higher for those who sleep on average less than six hours compared with those who sleep on average seven to nine hours—and lower productivity levels at work,” Rand said in a news release. “Canada loses just over 80,000 working days a year due to lack of sleep among the working population.

“These factors combined have a significant impact on the nation’s economy.”

Some of the main contributors to poor sleep are obesity, smoking, lack of physical activity, stress at work, financial concerns and long commutes.

The report recommended that employers consider their roles in employees’ sleep habits. Some suggestions include providing sleep facilities on-site, providing access to a gym, giving employees wearable devices to monitor sleep-wake activity and designing brighter workspaces, as people who work in windowless environments report poorer sleep quality. As well, psychosocial and physical workplace risks could be addressed to make employees feel more supported.

Rand conducted the study by examining medical literature on how sleep affects wider health outcomes and mortality, by using econometric modeling and by developing macro-economic models.

Click here to view a copy of the report.



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