Poor sleep costs $14.4 billion each year: New Report

A new report released today by the Sleep Health Foundation estimates that poor sleep costs Australia $14.4 billion each year in financial costs, with a further $36.6 billion in non-financial costs related to loss of well-being.

Written by Deloitte Access Economics, the report calculates productivity losses at $11 billion in 2019-2020. These costs were distributed across three major sleep disorders – obstructive sleep apnoea, insomnia and restless legs syndrome.

“What is striking about the results of this analysis is the relatively small amount spent on identifying and treating sleep disorders compared to the large costs of living with their consequences,” said Natasha Doherty, who leads the Deloitte Access Economics Health and Social Policy team.

Less than 7% of the direct financial costs of sleep disorders relate to health system costs of treatment ($944 million).

Rise and try to shine: the social and economic costs of sleep disorders reports that around 1 in 10 Australians have a sleep disorder that can have a serious effect their health, well-being, safety and productivity.

“The sleep health crisis described in the report echoes the findings of the federal Parliamentary Inquiry into Sleep Health Awareness, tabled in April 2019,” said Professor David Hillman, spokesperson for the Sleep Health Foundation.

“The inquiry made 11 recommendations. The first was that the Australian Government should make sleep health a national priority and recognise its importance to health and wellbeing alongside fitness and nutrition.

“Unfortunately the Draft National Preventive Health Strategy recently released for consultation has not responded to this recommendation at all. It mentions the word “sleep” only twice amongst its 45,000 words while other aspects of a healthy lifestyle – diet and exercise – have a high profile, as you would expect.

“It’s absolutely critical for Australia’s long-term preventive health strategy to include sleep health as a priority,” Professor Hillman said.

Rise and try to shine: the social and economic costs of sleep disorders calls for action to address the significant costs of poor sleep by implementing the 11 recommendations of the federal Parliamentary Inquiry into Sleep Health Awareness.

“This report underlines what we all know from our own experience – you feel worse, are less safe, less healthy and less productive if you are sleep deprived,” Professor Hillman said.

Key findings

  • In the last financial year (2019-20) poor sleep cost the Australian economy $14.4 billion
  • This equates to 0.73% of Australian GDP
  • Less than 7% of these costs are for sleep disorder treatments
  • Non-financial costs of the loss of wellbeing totalled an additional $36.6 billion
  • This represents 3.2% of total Australian burden of disease for the year.

Link to Full Report: Rise and try to shine: the social and economic costs of sleep disorders

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