The new study, by research firm Rand Europe, which used data from 62,000 people, said the loss equated to 1.86% of economic growth. The biggest impact was on health, with those sleeping less than six hours a night 13% more likely to die than those sleeping between seven and nine hours.
The study evaluated the economic cost of insufficient sleep in the UK, US, Canada, Germany and Japan. It showed that the United States loses 1.2 million working days a year, costing $411bn (£328bn) or 2.28% of GDP and Japan loses 600,000 working days a year, costing $138bn or 2.92% of GDP.
The UK was third on the list, losing 200,000working days – the same as Germany where the lost days equates to $60bn, or 1.56% of GDP.
According to the study, the ‘healthy daily sleep range’ is between seven and nine hours per night.
“The effects from a lack of sleep are massive. Sleep deprivation not only influences an individual’s health and wellbeing but has a significant impact on a nation’s economy,” said Marco Hafner, a research leader at Rand Europe and the report’s main author.
He said small changes could make a big difference, adding that, if those in the UK currently sleeping under six hours a night increased this to between six and seven hours, this would add £24bn to the UK’s economy.
The BBC reported that the research called on employers to recognise and promote the importance of sleep, urging them to build nap rooms. It said they should also discourage staff from ‘extended use’ of electronic devices after working hours.
Individuals were advised to wake up at the same time each day and exercise during the day to improve their sleep.
There are many things that can cause sleep patterns to be disrupted – ranging from being over-tired to stress and anxiety. The National Council for Hypnotherapy says that insomniacs generally respond very well to hypnosis.
“A hypnotherapist can create a programme of personalised treatment that identifies sleeping patterns and teaches self-management techniques which make a big difference not just in how long a person sleeps but in the quality of sleep too,” says the NCH.
Given the stresses of modern living, the NCH says its 1,800 members across the UK are treating more people suffering from stress and anxiety than before.
After sessions with a clinical hypnotherapist, people may feel more confident and more relaxed in situations that might have been challenging before. Many people say that they are calmer and that they have more clarity of thought – able to make decisions more easily.
Depending on individual situations, there is, of course, a considerable variation in the difficulty of the various problems and there is no general rule which makes it possible to say how much improvement can be achieved and in how much time, says the NCH.
“The simpler problems can sometimes be overcome completely in one session – hypnosis can be extremely effective. Your therapist, as a member of the NCH, is committed to helping you as swiftly and effectively as possible.
“The therapist may well be able to give you a fair assessment of how much improvement you can expect and how many sessions may be needed by the end of the first session but if the problem is more complex then you will jointly review progress from time to time.”
To see a hypnotherapist near you, simply click here to access the NCH directory – it could be worth your while.