The Economics of Sleep

They say that time is money.

During the day, that statement makes sense (or cents).

If you’re an hourly wage earner, each full circle of that big hand on a clock is more money in your pocket. If you’re a St. Augustine business owner, you want that hourly money you’re paying to also generate a profit.

Now, have you ever thought about the economic value of your sleep time? After all, sleep amounts to a third of our life. It should have some worth don’t you think?

Recently, the staff at Business Solutions Unlimited listened to the Freakonomics Radio podcast “Economics of Sleep.” We highly recommend listening to the entertaining and informative broadcasts yourself as it’s definitely influenced our view on the value of a good night sleep.

Part 1: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/wnyc/freakonomics-radio/e/43341371

Part 2: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/wnyc/freakonomics-radio/e/39738374

If you want a rundown on what we found fascinating (and alarming) about the economics of sleep, read on!

Lack of Sleep and Health

Lack of sleep has been linked to health problems, including diabetes, obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, lack of sleep may result in an annual cost of $16 billion in health care expenses.

People who sleep an average of six hours or less have a 13 percent higher mortality rate than those who sleep at least seven hours.

Lack of Sleep and Productivity

Sleep deprivation (six hours or less a night) can lead to a variety of unproductive and even dangerous effects:

  • Cognitive processing speed slows down
  • Poor concentration
  • Decreased memory
  • Mood changes
  • Workplace contention
  • Workplace absenteeism
  • Increase in alcohol consumption
  • Increased Industrial and car accidents

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, lack of sleep may result in an annual cost of $50 billion in lost productivity.

The U.S. loses approximately 1.2 million working days each year due to lack of sleep.

The Value of an Extra Hour of Sleep

People who added an extra hour of sleep gained a 16% income boost. That statistic came from researchers compiling data from the American Time Use Survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Early Birds vs. Night Owls

Morning-type people earn 4 to 5 percent more than evening-type people.

How Much Sleep Should We Get?

The National Institutes of Health recommend people get between seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a third of Americans do not get enough sleep on a regular basis.

Unless there are health-related issues causing a lack of sleep, most of us can get in a good night’s sleep just by changing some habits and your environment:

Consistency: Go to bed same time each night & get up the same time every morning. That goes for weekends too.

Atmosphere: Make sure your room is dark (wear an eye mask if necessary) and relaxing. Plus set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature.

Remove Electronics: That’s a hard one for some of us addicted to our smart phones or Jimmy Fallon. However, there’s plenty of research showing the electronic glow from our devices can impact our ability to sleep and the quality of sleep. So, put your phone away, remove your bedroom TV and don’t drag your laptop to bed.

Avoid Indulgences: Large meals, caffeine and alcohol before going to bed. And that means tobacco and nicotine as well.

Exercise During the Day: Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep easily at night.

So, paying attention to your sleep can pay off in better health and increased income. That extra hour or two of sleep is a price worth paying.

To find out how we can help give us a call at (904) 429-4588 during the day. At night, we’re going to be getting some sleep so we can be more productive for you during the day.

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Bridget Van Landingham

Bridget Van Landingham

Founder & CEO, Business Solutions Unlimited. As an Operations Specialist with close to 20 years experience, I created Business Solutions Unlimited as a one-stop shop to help small business owners with their marketing, accounting, management, and human resource needs. I've been a resident of St. Augustine, Florida since 1998. I currently serve on numerous boards in the community such as the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce & St. Johns County Head Start Policy Committee.
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