Sleep deprived? A new scientific study says people like you cost the UK economy £40billion a year, because you’re less productive than you could be. But it’s not all doom and gloom…
Cambridge based research company RAND Europe surveyed 62,000 people in the UK and US, Canada, Germany and Japan – and they discovered a startling fact. The UK’s losing 200,000 work days a year, due to a sleep deprived workforce – costing £40billion a year or nearly 2% of the country’s annual economic growth.
How? Well, workers are either too tired to function at the top of their game or they’re absent from work altogether, because of a lack of sleep. But it could be a very easy fix, as research leader Marco Hafner explained, “If those who sleep under six hours a night could increase their sleep to between six and seven hours a night, this could add £24billion to the economy.”
One extra hour of shut-eye each night could make a huge improvement to your own wellbeing and the world around you – the effects of sleep deprivation are massive. Those of you sleeping less than six hours a night are 13% more likely to die earlier than others getting seven to nine hours. So there’s your incentive to prioritise a good night’s sleep, if cold hard cash for the economy doesn’t do it for you – or these 7 convincing TED talks about sleeping properly.
Across the pond in America, the situation’s far worse, with 1.2million work days lost due to sleep deprivation among the workforce – costing a staggering $411billion, the biggest bill of all the countries RAND Europe surveyed.
Tell-tale signs that you’re sleep deprived
- You’re more clumsy and forgetful: when you’re tired, your reaction time is lower than usual
- Your emotions are all over the place: you overreact to things and feel more anxious, sad, angry or giddy than usual – if not more irritable
- You’re always hungry: when your brain doesn’t get the energy it needs from sleep, it tells you to get it from food
- You get sick more often: a few nights of poor sleep could lower your immune system or your body’s defences against colds and viruses
- You’re having trouble seeing: focusing your eyes and reading gets harder
- You fall asleep soon after lying down: it should take 10 to 20 minutes to drift off, but if you fall asleep immediately after hitting the pillow, you could be sleep deprived
How you can fix sleep deprivation today
The only way to beat sleep deprivation is to spend more time with your eyes closed.
- Read our list of tips to improve your sleep
- Follow a proper sleep schedule: go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day to get into a routine
- Upgrade your bed, mattress and pillows
- Exercise during the day to improve your sleep