Sleeping little can have a profound impact not only on people’s health, but also on the economy of the countries where they live. This is what the result of a survey conducted by the RAND Europe institute shows, which calculated the damage that lack of sleep causes to the productivity and efficiency of workers.
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The study looked at data from five countries where people reported sleeping less hours a day than indicated by medicine (7 to 9 hours a day). In Japan, 16% said they sleep less than 6 hours a day and 40% sleep between 6 and 7. Next comes the USA, with 18% and 27%, respectively, the UK, with 16% and 19%, Germany, with 9% and 21% and Canada, with 6% and 20%.
The economic cost of lack of sleep can reach hundreds of billions of dollars a year, according to the RAND study. The survey estimated that the US has annual losses of US $ 411 billion (about R $ 2.3 trillion), Japan of US $ 138 billion (R $ 787 billion), Germany of US $ 60 billion (about R $ 342 billion), the United Kingdom of $ 50 billion (about R $ 285 billion) and Canada, of $ 21.4 billion (R $ 122 billion).
According to the head of research at RAND, Marco Hafner, this damage occurs for several reasons. “People who do not sleep well are more likely to be absent from work due to health issues. And when they go, they tend to be less productive than their colleagues, which can overwhelm them and directly affect companies’ financial results”, he explained in an interview with the CGTN broadcaster.
In the long run, the problems caused by lack of sleep can result in higher spending on the health system, which can also impact the country’s economy. Many traffic accidents also happen when drivers are fatigued. A British government agency estimates that 20% of accidents and almost 25% of serious / fatal ones involve people with signs of tiredness.
Brazilians sleep relatively well
Brazil, on the other hand, is in 14th place in a list of countries where people have the highest average hours of sleep per night, made in 2016, with 7 hours and 34 minutes. The list is headed by the Netherlands (8h5min), New Zealand (8h4min), France (8h3min) and Australia (8h1min).
“If you have a job that requires you a lot, causes stress, has long working hours and that makes you feel obliged to check your work emails right before bed, this has negative consequences for a good sleep for night, ‘says Hafner.
Another issue, according to him, is the long commute to and from work. “If it takes you a long time, it has a negative effect on your sleep. First, because you need to wake up very early to work and on your return, with all the activities you still need to do at home, it delays bedtime,” says researcher.
There are other factors that can be avoided, explains Hafner, such as the idea that a glass of wine or another alcoholic drink before bedtime, which is not supported by research. In addition, the blue light emitted by computer monitors and cell phone screens affects the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, so the ideal is to go without screens for a while.
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