Study links insomnia to $31 billion in U.S. workplace errors
Research was based on interviews with more than 10,000 people.
(HealthDay)—Feeling sleepy on the job and having trouble focusing? It could cost you—and the nation as a whole. A new study estimates that insomnia is responsible for 274,000 workplace accidents and errors each year, adding up to $31 billion in extra costs.
The research isn't conclusive, and it's possible that some factors other than sleeplessness may explain these mishaps. The findings also depend on the possibly hazy recollections of several thousand workers about things that happened to them over the past year.
Still, the study does suggest a link between lack of sleep and problems in the workplace. The findings could encourage workplaces to pay more attention to insomnia and screen employees for the condition, said lead author Victoria Shahly, a clinical psychologist and instructor at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
"Accidents and errors directly affect the corporate bottom line," Shahly said.
Sleepiness, of course, is a big enemy of focus. When you're tired, your powers of memory, coordination and attention start to decline. In the new study, Shahly and her colleagues tried to understand what this means at the workplace.
In 2008 and 2009, researchers surveyed more than 10,000 people in the United States who had health insurance and spoke English. The participants, who were chosen because they represented people in the country overall, answered questions through phone conversations.
The participants received $20 each for taking part in the study. The researchers focused on nearly 5,000 people who were employed.
The researchers estimated that 20 percent of the participants suffered from insomnia for at least 12 months.
As for mishaps, the researchers found that 5.5 percent of those who appeared to have insomnia said they caused accidents or made errors at work that cost at least $500, compared with 4 percent of those who didn't seem to have insomnia.
The researchers estimated that insomnia is linked to about 7 percent of all costly workplace accidents and errors, and 24 percent of the overall cost of the mishaps overall. They estimated that the cost of the mishaps related to insomnia is $31.1 billion.
It is unknown if the study participants who suffered from sleeplessness had a worse memory about workplace accidents than those who didn't. It also is not clear how much it would cost to treat 20 percent of the working population of the United States for insomnia and whether the expense would run to more than the cost of the workplace errors themselves.
Kevin Morgan, director of Loughborough University's Clinical Sleep Research Unit, in Leicestershire, England, praised the study and said it's an important examination of an "under-researched" topic.
Until now, researchers have tried to understand the effect of sleeplessness on work by focusing on how it contributes to employees staying home from their jobs, he said. "But this research is directed at people screwing up at work."
Would it cost more to treat people for insomnia than to suffer from workplace mishaps?
"You can feed them sleeping tablets—this works in the short term—but then it goes bad, creating drug-dependent patients who get little benefit from their drugs," Morgan said. "Ironically, you then have to invest in withdrawal programs to get them off drugs, only to find that the insomnia—which was there all the time—returns."
Insomnia, however, often is treated successfully by cognitive behavioral therapy designed to help change the way people think, Morgan said, and the treatment is inexpensive. Approximately 60 percent to 70 percent of long-term insomniacs can get a benefit from four to five hours of cognitive behavioral therapy.
The new study appears in the October issue of the journal Archives of General Psychiatry.
For more about insomnia, try the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Journal reference: JAMA Psychiatry
Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
- Insomnia affects 23 percent of US workers: study Aug 31, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Insomnia costing US workforce $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity, study shows Sep 01, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Study shows that the societal, economic burden of insomnia is high Jan 01, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- New study finds that treating insomnia is far less costly than ignoring it Mar 01, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Trained NHS therapists can help insomniacs Aug 17, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
Marie Curie's leukemia
May 13, 2013 Does anyone know what might be the cause of Marie Curie's cancer
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
A Mediterranean diet with added extra virgin olive oil or mixed nuts seems to improve the brain power of older people better than advising them to follow a low-fat diet, indicates research published online in the Journal of ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
More people are being diagnosed with eating disorders every year and the most common type is not either of the two most well known—bulimia or anorexia—but eating disorders not otherwise specified (eating disorders that ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Turns out, that old "practice makes perfect" adage may be overblown. New research led by Michigan State University's Zach Hambrick finds that a copious amount of practice is not enough to explain why people ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 3 hours ago | 3.6 / 5 (5) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—Individuals who learn two languages at an early age seem to switch back and forth between separate "sound systems" for each language, according to new research conducted at the University of Arizona.
Psychology & Psychiatry 4 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Video games that pit players against human-looking characters may be more likely to provoke violent thoughts and words than games where monstrous creatures are the enemy, according to a new study by researchers ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 4 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
New research suggests that a compound abundant in the Mediterranean diet takes away cancer cells' "superpower" to escape death. By altering a very specific step in gene regulation, this compound essentially re-educates cancer ...
5 hours ago | 4.7 / 5 (7) | 1 |
Researchers have pinpointed a catalytic trigger for the onset of Alzheimer's disease – when the fundamental structure of a protein molecule changes to cause a chain reaction that leads to the death of neurons ...
5 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—A research team, led by Jeremy Barr, a biology post-doctoral fellow, unveils a new immune system that protects humans and animals from infection.
2 hours ago | 4.3 / 5 (6) | 1 |
Salamanders' immune systems are key to their remarkable ability to regrow limbs, and could also underpin their ability to regenerate spinal cords, brain tissue and even parts of their hearts, scientists have ...
5 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
Older prostate cancer patients with other underlying health conditions should think twice before committing to surgery or radiation therapy for their cancer, according to a multicenter study led by researchers in the UCLA ...
3 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
A new diagnostic test for a worm infection that can lead to severe enlargement and deformities of the legs and genitals is far more sensitive than the currently used test, according to results of a field ...
3 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |