Costly bill for sleepless America
The economic cost of sleep deprivation has been calculated to
be $63 billion (£40 billion) annually, according to a recent study
by Harvard Medical School.
The study calculated the economic toll that sleep loss has on the
economy as a whole, such as productivity lags and workplace safety.
This results in an average of 11.3 days, or $2,280 (£1,449), in
lost productivity per worker each year.
Dr. Douglas Prisco, director of sleep medicine at Keck Hospital of
University Southern California said: "Sleeplessness has become an
epidemic in the United States.
"People are having an extremely hard time turning off."
Recent research has also found that the south of America is the
place where people are getting the least sleep. The study,
conducted by 24/7 Wall St, found that the six states where sleep
rates were the lowest also scored low on quality of life factors.
West Virginia, for example, has the second-most obese population in
the country and the largest percentage of smokers. It also has the
second-lowest life expectancy in the country, at 75.2 years. From
this correlating evidence, it is safe to assume that the quality of
life could have a big impact on how we sleep.
March is National Sleep Awareness Month, which makes it a good
time to focus on the impact of the night on the day, in lack of
productivity and grogginess, and the impact of the day on the
night, in relation to health factors.
The day is becoming an increasingly stressful time, and this is
impacting on how well we sleep at night. Going to sleep with things
on our mind makes reaching a state of rest much more arduous, and
having a period of 'down time' to mull over these things is
advised. Busier lifestyles are also to blame for our inability to
shut off, as we live in a culture of 24-hour news and
entertainment, as well as being constantly surrounded by gadgets
and gismos which could be keeping us up.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, nearly all of the more
than 1,500 people surveyed interacted with some sort of electronic
device within an hour of bedtime. That included watching TV or
going online. The same poll found that
43 per cent of respondents ages 13 to 64 said they rarely or never
get enough rest on weeknights. Most said they would like about
seven-and-a-half hours of shut-eye, but typically get fewer than
These devices are particularly problematic for teenagers, who
increasingly use electronic devices in their lives. This can lead
to an impact in the classroom, with attention levels being reduced
and restlessness increased.
The best solution for getting a good night's sleep is making the
bedroom completely sleep-centric. This involves taking several
measures, such as cutting out light and noise, removing devices and
making the room as comfortable as possible. If you associate the
bedroom with sleep, the mind will intuitively go into a state of
A good mattress is essential to getting to most out of the night.
With such an array of mattresses to choose from, individuals can
now tailor the type of mattress to them. Whether this is the
classic mattress, or a miracoil bed that offers more personalised
support, all considerations should be taken into account to make
the mattress choice as personal as possible.
Exercise and good health is generally recommended for getting to
sleep at night. Keeping to a scheduled meal plan and not eating too
late will also help the body fully relax at night.
Placing emphasis on the night will result in better results being
achieved during the day. If we observe the things that count
towards a good night's sleep, then we will achieve more through
increased productivity and generally positive attitude.
Posted by Elizabeth Mewes