Aussies paying big for lack of sleep

Richard Laycock 9 August 2017

Lady asleep at her computer

A bad night's sleep is costing Australia $66 billion a year in health bills, lost productivity and wellbeing.

Roughly 40% (7.4 million) of Australians routinely didn't get enough sleep each night during the 2016-2017 financial year, according to the Sleep Health Foundation Report by Deloitte Access Economics.

And this lack of sleep is taking its toll on the health of everyday Australians. The report estimates that tiredness costs the country $1.8 billion each year for health-related costs.

“This lack of sleep had harmful effects on everyday function, and exacerbated health conditions from heart disease and stroke through to diabetes and depression in tens of thousands of Australians,” said chair of the Sleep Health Foundation Professor, Dorothy Bruck.

The report found that 2.5 million people had health problems that affected their sleep and 1.1 million people had a sleep disorder such as insomnia or sleep apnea.

A lack of sleep was linked to the deaths of 3,017 Australians in 2016-17. Vehicle or industrial accidents as the result of tiredness resulted in 394 deaths.

The full financial burden of sleeplessness for 2016-17 was $66.3 billion, which was made up of loss of wellbeing costs (40.1bn), health costs ($1.8bn), lost productivity ($17.9bn), home carer costs ($0.6bn) and deadweight losses ($5.9bn).

“The numbers are big, the personal and national costs are big and their consequences should not be ignored,” Professor Bruck said.

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