The Cost of Sleeping Trouble

Insufficient sleep may cost US economy billions and pose health risks

(RxWiki News) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared lack of sleep a public health problem — and it's a problem that may cost the economy billions of dollars each year.

In fact, a recent study found that lack of sleep is estimated to cost the United States as much as $411 billion each year.

Insufficient sleep has been linked to a higher risk of death and lower productivity at work. In the US, it is estimated that 1.2 million working days are lost each year due to lack of sleep, according to the recent study, conducted by the RAND Corporation. 

Shorter sleep may also be linked to obesity, smoking, lack of exercise, higher consumption of sugary drinks and stress, according to past research. 

Marco Hafner, a research leader with RAND, said in a press release that, "Improving individual sleep habits and duration has huge implications, with our research showing that simple changes can make a big difference."

Read on for more information and some easy tips to improve your sleep. 

What Is Insomnia?

Insomnia, a common sleep disorder, is defined as having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or both. Some of the symptoms include the following:

  • Lying awake for a long period of time before you fall asleep
  • Being able to sleep for only a short period
  • Lying awake for most of the night
  • Feeling as if you have not slept when you wake up
  • Waking up too early

If you are having trouble sleeping, focus on sleep hygiene, the promotion of regular sleep. 

Sleep Hygiene Tips

  • Develop and follow a routine that helps you wind down and feel relaxed before your bedtime.
  • Avoid substances that may worsen insomnia. These include caffeine, tobacco, stimulants and even some over-the-counter medications. Even alcohol can result in a lighter sleep than normal and cause you to wake up during the night. 
  • Avoid exercising right before bed. Instead, try to schedule your daily exercise at least five to six hours before bed.
  • Avoid eating heavy meals or drinking a lot of fluids before going to bed.
  • Transform your bedroom into a sleep-friendly one.
    • Avoid bright lights.
    • Limit possible distractions, such as a TV or computer.
    • Ensure the temperature of your bedroom is cool and comfortable.
    • Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet.
  • Try to wake up around the same time each morning and go to sleep around the same time each night, including on the weekend.
  • Avoid night shifts, alternating schedules or other issues that may cause a disruption in your sleep schedule, if possible.

If you are having trouble sleeping, speak to your health care provider. Your health care provider will determine the best course of action for you. Treatments may include lifestyle changes, counseling and medications.