Cost of Sleepless Nights Estimated
at $15 Billion a Year
Burning the midnight oil happens to the best of us and according to Craig Schwimmer, MD, MPH, FACS, founder of the Snoring Center, a loss of sleep affects everyone, young and old, regardless of gender, race or profession.
A number of factors can contribute to sleepless nights: stress, high work volumes, social obligations and excess caffeine consumption are all common reasons for cutting back the zzz’s. But continuing the vicious cycle of events that cause your sleep deprivation has more consequences than meets the eye.
Despite contributing to a number of health concerns, including hypertension, nighttime heartburn and cardiac stress, the drowsiness down spiral costs the US economy an estimated $15 billion a year. A groggy, unproductive work force, increased health costs and workplace accidents are all contributing factors.
In the US alone nearly 80,000 drivers fall asleep behind the wheel every day, endangering themselves, their families, and their fellow citizens. In Massachusetts alone, 375,000 licensed drivers have nodded off or fallen asleep while driving in the past six months. Twenty percent of all serious injuries from motor vehicle crashes are caused by drowsy driving.
Snoring or sleep apnea is another reason for sleepless nights. “Sleep apnea disrupts sleep because people with sleep apnea actually wake up many times during the night (unbeknownst to them), and therefore do not get normal, restorative sleep,” says Dr. Schwimmer. In addition, bed partners are also significantly affected, so much so, that over 20% of couples sleep apart due to their partner’s noisy sleep.
Always aim towards at least eight hours of sleep a day. Remember, sleep is not a pastime; it’s a necessary, vital function for day-to-day living. If your sleepless nights are regular or you feel concerned, seek medical advice as early as possible.