Report reveals poor sleep is costing Australia billions

Estimates from a new Sleep Health Foundation report indicates that poor sleep is costing Australia $14.4 billion each year in financial costs, with a further $36.6 billion in non-financial costs related to loss of wellbeing.

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,” says 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).

 The `Rise and try to shine: the social and economic costs of sleep disorders’ reports that around one in 10 Australians have a sleep disorder that can have a serious effect their health, wellbeing, 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,” says Professor David Hillman, who managed commissioning the report for the Sleep Health Foundation.

 “The inquiry made 11 recommendations. The first of these 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,” says Professor Hillman.

`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,” says Professor Hillman.

 

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