Cambridge - Lack of sleep leads to absenteeism in the workplace and drop in productivity, which affects country's economic performance. A study by RAND Europe, an offshoot of the Californian think tank RAND, has calculated that 200,000 working days are lost annually in Germany, which corresponds to an economic output of 40 billion euros or 1.56 percent of the gross national product.
It is known that many adults get too little sleep. According to the data compiled by RAND Europe, 9 percent of the population in Germany sleep less than six hours day, and further 21 percent sleep six to seven hours. 7 to 8 hours are recommended. With proportion of 30 percent of adults who get too little sleep, Germany is in relatively favorable position in comparison of the five OECD countries that the study examined. In Great Britain, 35 percent, in the USA 45 percent and in Japan even 56 percent of the population get too little sleep. Only in Canada, at 26 percent, was the proportion lower than in Germany.
The lack of sleep among employees has direct effect on the absenteeism of the employees. The absenteeism in turn reduces productivity. Marco Hafner's RAND team estimates that in Japan 2.29 percent of the gross national product (or 138 billion US dollars annually) is lost as result of lack of sleep, in the USA it is 2.28 percent (or 411 billion US dollars ), in Great Britain 1.86 percent (or 50 billion US dollars), in Germany 1.56 percent (or 60 billion US dollars) and in Canada 1.35 percent (or 21.4 billion US dollars).
Sleep deprivation has been linked to an increased rate of illness in various epidemiological studies. The report lists cardiovascular diseases, cancer, strokes, accidents, diabetes, sepsis and arterial hypertension and estimates that lack of sleep increases mortality by up to 13 percent.
The investigation goes in detail on possible Causes of lack of sleep. The calculations were based on the results of Britain’s Healthiest Workplace Competition, which annually determines the British companies with the healthiest employees. The rank is based on the information on personal data, lifestyle and conditions at work, which the employees provide in questionnaires. The RAND team oversees the competition.
Lifestyle factors that were associated with shorter sleep times included being overweight (2.5 to 7 minutes less sleep per day), smoking (minus 5 minutes), sugary drinks (minus 3.4 minutes), lack of physical exercise (minus 2.6 minutes) and mental disorders (minus 17.2 minutes).
Also financial problems (minus 10 minutes), free maintenance of relatives (minus 5 minutes) and children (minus 4.2 minutes) reduce sleep according to the analysis. Men sleep 9 minutes less than women. Singles are 4.8 minutes less than married couples and sleep is 6.5 minutes shorter after divorce.
An externally determined workstation (“lack of choice”) shortened the duration of sleep 2.3 minutes, unrealistic time pressure by 8 minutes and shift work by 2.7 minutes. Commuters got between 9.2 (15 minutes to work) and 16.5 minutes (over 60 minutes to work) less sleep.
All numbers are averages and they appear to be small. But many contestants in Britain’s Healthiest Workplace Competition had multiple risk factors that can quickly add up to an hour or more sleep deficit, Hafner notes.