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Insomnia Costs Workplaces $31 Billion Each Year, Study Says

Oct 26th, 2012

InsomniaLack of sleep and poor focus can take its toll not only on our health but on our wallets as well. Insomnia cause an estimated  274,000 workplace accidents and errors costing Americans approximately $31 billion each year, a recent study said.

The research may not be conclusive, as factors other than sleeplessness can also be considered, but it suggests a link between lack of sleep and workplace problems.

The study, published in the recent issue of the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, could help workplaces focus on insomnia and assess employees for the condition, said Victoria Shahly, lead author and clinical psychologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston. “Accidents and errors directly affect the corporate bottom line,” she said.

For the study, Shahly and her team wanted to investigate the effect of sleepiness in the workplace. Workers who get sleepy lack focus, have impaired memory, lack coordination, and have difficulties paying attention.

Researchers surveyed more than 10,000 U.S. residents with health insurance via phone conversations in 2008 and 2009. The team focused on nearly 5,000 employed individuals for their study.

According to the study, 5.5 percent of those who apparently had insomnia said they caused accidents or made errors at work costing $500 or more. While 4 percent of those without insomnia caused similar costly mishaps.

Researchers linked approximately 7 percent of all workplace accidents and errors to insomnia, amounting to 24 percent of the total cost of all mishaps.

It is unclear whether memory about workplace accidents is different between those who suffered from sleeplessness and those who did not. Researchers have yet to determine the cost of treating 20 percent of the working population for insomnia and whether it will be cost efficient.

Simple tips to prevent insomnia:
1. Make your bedroom more comfortable.
2. Establish a regular sleep schedule.
3. Exercise during the day
4. Don’t take naps.
5. Don’t drink too much coffee.
6. Limit alcohol intake.

Source: VISTA Health Solutions

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