Eyes Wide Shut - The World is Sleeping Less

June 22, 2018

In today’s blog, we investigate emerging risks in the health and wellbeing sector that have the potential to have serious consequences globally. Initially looking at the microcosmic effect of sleep deprivation for the individual, 1 in 3 people in the UK suffer from a lack of sleep with; work life, diet, stress, and technology all cited as contributing factors. The NHS states a lack of sleep (less than 8 hours a night on average) affects your overall health and make you prone to serious medical conditions, such as; obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. These diseases have lifelong effects and affect the life expectancy of an individual, however, it is crucial to understand the effects of sleep deprivation are not just physical.

 

The NHS again states that a lack of sleep can cause the brain to ‘fog’, can also lead to mental health issues and will hugely impair decision making. Most importantly the NHS denotes “Your risk of injury and accidents at home, work and on the road also increases”. This links with a piece from a recent conference we attended in Switzerland conducted by Swiss Re who have found that two-thirds of all losses to insurance companies are due to human error, meaning that people trigger a loss of USD 3 billion each year to the global economy.  The relevance of this is that Swiss Re cited a lack of sleep as a key contributing factor to insurance payouts; firstly, because people who are tired are considerably more prone to making errors, and secondly that people who sleep less are likely to be less healthy and may die younger.

 

The consequences of the world sleeping less are fairly drastic. A shift in mortality patterns due to increased heart disease and strokes would lead to life insurance policies being paid out earlier, this would, in turn, change the dynamics of the life insurance industry as a whole. Similarly, Swiss Re state that human error due to lack of sleep is likely to lead to increased errors in sensitive work environments, such as oil rigs, operating theatres, and professionally driven vehicles. The costs of sleep deprivation and pressure at work are now being linked to the loss of human life in the most extreme cases, yet again this is likely to lead to an increase in; medical malpractice claims, and industrial insurance claims for manmade losses.

 

It seems incredible to relate a lack of sleep to the loss of billions of dollars to the global economy and the loss of human life; however, this shows how world-leading experts view this ‘sleep deprivation epidemic’ and in many ways it makes sense. Lack of sleep for an individual seems a small issue, however, it has a large snowball effect that when looked at accumulatively has global consequences. At Healthy Nibbles we do everything we can to encourage a healthy lifestyle, factoring sleep and diet and the effect the two have on each other for our own employees and our clients, if you would like to see more about our work please take some time to look at our website and social media channels.





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