We can sleep when we’re dead…right?
Not so much. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) claims insufficient sleep to be a public health epidemic, as 1 in 3 American adults do not get enough sleep. Adults aged 18-60 years require at least 7 hours of sleep per night in order to maintain optimal health, but many adults fail to do so. This leads to an increased risk of developing chronic health conditions like obesity and heart disease.
Sleep-deprived Americans are not only damaging their health and well-being, but according to a recent study – “Why Sleep Matters: Quantifying the Economic Costs of Insufficient Sleep” – they’re also costing the U.S. economy about $411 billion each year, over 2% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The study found that the U.S. sustains the highest economic losses due to lack of sleep, followed by Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom. Canada sustains the lowest, losing only 1.3% of its GDP per year.
These economic losses in the U.S. are caused by 1.2 million working days being lost annually due to insufficient sleep. Experts suggest that if fatigued workers were to increase their sleep time to six to seven hours per night, $226.4 billion could be added to the U.S. economy.
Why can’t we get the sleep we need? Lifestyle factors such as lack of physical activity, constant digital stimulation, smoking, mental health issues, work-related stress and financial concerns are just a few of the reasons that Americans are unable to sleep for long periods of time.
The Mayo Clinic suggests these tips to encourage better sleep:
- Stick to a sleep schedule.
- Pay attention to what you eat and drink.
- Create a bedtime ritual.
- Create a room that is ideal for sleeping.
- This room should be cool, dark and quiet.
- Take a nap, but limit to 30 minutes.
- Include physical activity in your daily routine.
- Manage stress — try meditation.
So, while many may brag about living without sleep, restful sleep is necessary to live a healthy and productive life. It’s good for you and it’s good for the U.S. economy.