here seems to be no shortage of people who don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis. The consequences of poor sleeping habits, such as feelings of sluggishness, are fairly obvious. But according to a recent report, lack of sleep might cause large numbers of workplace accidents every year.
Conducted by a team of researchers from Harvard Medical School, this study cast a fairly wide net, surveying over 10,000 people in the United States. Thanks to these respondents, the authors were able to link numerous annual workplace accidents to unhealthy sleeping patterns. Specifically, the authors found that insomnia could be blamed for 274,000 yearly workplace accidents and errors.
As you might expect, all of these accidents come at a hefty price. The study estimates that all of these accidents cost the US economy $31 billion per year. On an individual basis, participants who reported insomnia admitted to the authors that they had caused errors at work, accruing costs of at least $500. Examples of such errors included vehicular accidents and assembly line shutdowns.
A Widespread Problem
Insomnia affects more people than you may think. According to the American Sleep Association, nearly a third of Americans will encounter short-term insomnia at some point in their lives. Some other facts from this organization are shown below:
- Chronic insomnia affects about one in ten adults in the US
- The older people get, the less people sleep. Among adults aged 20 to 39, 37% percent reported getting less than ideal levels of sleep. For those aged 40 to 59, this figure rises to 40%.
- Nearly four out of ten American adults have dozed off accidentally during the day.
- Perhaps most alarmingly, 5% of US adults have fallen asleep behind the wheel.