Lack of sleep costing billions, report shows

Australians are not getting enough sleep and it is costing the country billions, a new report shows.

The report Asleep on the Job: Costs of Inadequate Sleep in Australia, compiled by Deloitte Access Economics for the Sleep Health Foundation, found that inadequate sleep kills more than 3,000 people a year.

This includes 394 dying after falling asleep at the wheel of a vehicle or from industrial accidents involving tired workers.

The monetary cost of sleep deprivation was estimated at $66.3 billion in the 2016/17 financial year, with just under half that amount linked to productivity losses as well as medical and informal care expenses.

Four out of 10 people or 7.4 million people did not get enough sleep last year.

The Sleep Health Foundation’s Professor Dorothy Bruck said lack of sleep exacerbated health conditions, including heart disease and stroke, diabetes and depression.

“No wonder sleep deprivation was such a highly effective form of torture,” Prof Bruck said.

The report recommended police should pay as much attention to tired and fatigued drivers as they did to speeding and drink-driving.

“Just as there are rules forbidding driving at more than a certain speed, or after consuming an excessive amount of alcohol, there may be a case for restrictions on driving where the driver has had less than a set minimum hours of sleep in the past 24 hours,” Prof Bruck said.

Australian research showed drivers with 17 hours of sleep deprivation performed the same in the driver’s seat as someone with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 per cent.

To read the report, click here. 

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