Poor sleep is costly to society

    By Lise Birk Kristensen

    Poor sleep is a serious threat to health and prolonged 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 citizens concerned, but also for society in general.

    Sleep medicines and sick days

    Sleep problems are associated with increased consumption of sleep medicines and healthcare services, including increased consultations with the general practitioner. In Denmark, 1 in 10 people use sleeping pills.

    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 kroner

    It is estimated that sleep problems among the Danish population cost around DKK 23 billion per year.

    The distribution of costs associated with sleep problems amounted to:

    - 11% for medical consultation, transport, prescription and over-the-counter medicines

    - 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 carried out 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 with poor sleep quality from 2010 to 2021. Of which a significant increase is seen in the proportion of citizens with poor sleep quality as well as short sleep duration.

    Poor sleep is not only a serious threat to health - poor costs society dearly. There is a wealth of lifestyle advice, guidance and short-term solutions, such as sleeping pills for sleep problems, but there is a lack of effective and easily accessible solutions to help citizens with sleep problems.