asleep at work

Snoring and sleep apnoea are more than just annoying habits that leave sufferers feeling jaded the next day. According to a new study a lack of sleep is costing Australian businesses and the economy as a whole billions of dollars.

If people don’t get enough sleep then chances are it’s costing employees in terms of physical health and businesses in financial wealth; that’s according to a new study from Dr David Hillman, Head of Sleep Medicine at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth, WA and founding chair of Australia’s Sleep Health Foundation.

The study was published in the academic journal SLEEP, from the Oxford University Press1. Hillman and his research team collected data from numerous national Australian surveys and databases. They analysed the data to determine just how much inadequate sleep had cost Australia in the 2016-2017 financial year. According to the published paper, it was a staggering total of $45.21 billion – enough to keep any economist up at night.

Productivity losses & absenteeism

Of that $45.21 billion, they estimated $17.88 billion in financial losses and the other $27.33 in health care costs. Financial losses were calculated by looking at productivity losses due to absenteeism, presenteeism, reduced employment and even premature death associated with lack of sleep. The $17.88 billion also included deadweight losses to government tax revenue of $1.56 billion.

The $27.33 billion in health and wellness costs made up about 4.6% of the total costs of disease in Australia for the 2016-2017 financial year. Most of it went towards illnesses associated with lack of sleep and management of sleep disorders.
tired worker

Accidents at work

Inadequate sleep affects your hand-eye coordination and makes it difficult to communicate and concentrate. It also makes your brain slower at processing information and solving problems. All of this can lead to problems in the workplace, expensive errors, and even accidents at work, on the road or at home.

Make sleep a priority

In some cases, people don’t get enough sleep because they don’t make it enough of a priority. To improve your sleep, the Sleep Health Foundation recommends that you minimise disruptions, both externally and internally. Make some time to relax before bed, turn off your computer screens and make a handwritten, paper list of important things to remember for the next day so that you don’t worry about them as you fall asleep2.

Snoring & sleep apnoea treatment

It’s also important to identify any issues with snoring and sleep apnoea. These conditions disrupt the quality of sleep for both the snorer and the snorer’s partner, and can lead to cardiovascular illnesses in the long-run, but addressing them is easier said than done.

Both snoring and sleep apnoea occur because the air intake through the mouth down into the lungs is reduced by a narrowed airway, as a consequence there is a reduction of oxygen to our brain which sends a signal asking us to force a deeper inspiration to get more air in. As we breathe harder through the narrowed airway the snoring sound is caused by the vibration of the soft tissues at the back of the pallet.

Mouth guards, nasal strips, chin straps and other devices all claim to stop snoring, but few of them address the root issues. Snoring can be addressed with medical laser treatments and minor lifestyle adjustments. Start by speaking to a medical professional who specialises in snoring.

  1. https://academic.oup.com/sleep/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/sleep/zsy083/5025924
  2. https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/public-information/fact-sheets-a-z/understanding-and-helping-better-sleep.html

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Increase productivity & reduce absenteeism

If snoring or sleep apnoea affect you or your workforce speak to Specialist Clinics of Australia.

Our SleepTight program incorporates laser treatment and lifestyle changes that produce a 94% success rate for compliant patients.