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Hit snooze! How a better night’s sleep could save the UK £40bn

Dec 2nd, 2016 by

A new report says sleep deprivation costs British businesses dearly. So what tricks – from nap rooms to healthy canteen menus – can combat tiredness and boost productivity?

Did you sleep well last night? If you didn’t, are you aware of the consequences? Sure, you feel a bit foggy-brained, but there’s more to it than that. According to research by the thinktank Rand Europe, sleep deprivation costs the UK economy £40bn a year. In the US, the estimated cost of poor sleep is US$411bn.

But how can lack of sleep be quantified? “We built an economic model that simulates the real economies of those countries,” says Marco Hafner, the Rand report’s lead author. “Then we looked at three effects. One is mortality, because people who regularly sleep fewer than six hours a day have a 13% greater chance of dying at any point. That has a negative effect on the economy, because those people are then not in the workplace,” he says. Hang on, don’t they just get replaced? “Yes, but that can be costly, because new people are not as effective.”

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