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Insomnia Costs Billions in Lost Productivity
Date:1/3/2009

pulation have "insomnia syndrome," while about one-third experience symptoms of insomnia at some point.

And the study authors, from Universite Laval in Quebec City, noted that insomnia remains largely an untreated problem.

These investigators analyzed information from questionnaires filled out by 948 adults in Quebec, as well as health data from the Quebec government.

The total annual direct and indirect costs of insomnia in the province came to an estimated $6.6 billion in Canadian dollars.

Direct costs included $191.2 million for doctors' visits, $36.6 million for transportation to and from these visits, $16.5 million for prescription drugs, $1.8 million for over-the-counter remedies, and a whopping $339.8 million for alcohol used as a sleep aid.

Eight percent of individuals in the study, average age almost 44 and 60 percent female, reported having used alcohol to fall asleep, including 28 percent of those with insomnia symptoms or syndrome.

Loss of productivity amounted to $5 billion, or 27.6 days per year, for people with insomnia syndrome and 6.2 days a year for those with symptoms.

Job absenteeism racked up $970.6 million in indirect costs, or 4.36 days missed per year, for people with insomnia syndrome.

Absenteeism and lost productivity totaled almost $6 billion and represented 91 percent of all costs.

The average per-person cost including both direct and indirect losses were $5,010 for people with insomnia syndrome and $1,431 for those with symptoms of insomnia and $421 for "good sleepers."

"Sleep should be considered part of the big triangle of life, with diet and exercise," Greenblatt.

How much is enough sleep? While most people end up in the seven-to-nine-hour range, said Greenblatt, rumor has it that Thomas Edison got by with three or four hours a night, while Albert Einstein "got by" with 10 or 11.

"There seems to be an optimum sleep
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