Poor sleep is costly for societyBy Lise Birk Kristensen
Poor sleep is a serious threat to health and long-term sleep problems can lead to serious illness.
In addition to the health consequences associated with sleep problems and diseases, poor sleep has significant costs, not only for the individuals concerned, but also for society in general.
Sleep medication and sick days
Sleep problems are associated with increased use of sleep medication and healthcare services, including increased GP consultations. In Denmark, 1 in 10 people use sleep medication.
In addition, sleep problems lead to reduced work productivity, increased absenteeism from work, involvement in accidents, lower employment, etc. It is estimated that sleep problems cause an average of 11 sick days per year per person.
23 billion DKK
It is estimated that sleep problems among the Danish population cost around DKK 23 billion per year.
The breakdown of costs associated with sleep problems amounted to:
- 11% for medical consultation, transportation, prescribed and over-the-counter medication
- 22% for indirect costs due to absence from work
- 67% for costs due to reduced (self-reported) work productivity.
A public health problem
Sleep problems undoubtedly represent a significant public health problem. In Denmark, national health profiles are conducted on the health, well-being and morbidity of the Danish population, including sleep.
For example, the health profile in the Central Denmark Region showed that there has been an increase in the proportion of people with poor sleep quality from 2010 to 2021. Of these, there is a significant increase in the proportion of citizens with poor sleep quality and short sleep duration.
Poor sleep is not only a serious threat to health - poor sleep is costly to society. There are countless lifestyle advice, guidelines and short-term solutions, such as sleep medication for sleep problems, but there is a lack of effective and easily accessible solutions to help citizens with sleep problems.