New research reveals chronic insomnia disorder costs UK economy up to £34billion per year
- First of its kind research indicates that if chronic insomnia disorder (CID) was treated effectively and comprehensively across the working age population, it could increase the GDP in the UK by as much as £34billion per year1*
- Report suggests that working days lost to CID result in an overall cost to UK GDP of 1.31% in lost productivity per year1
- Report estimates the total wellbeing costs of insomnia in the UK could be close to £17.7billion1*
LONDON, March 17, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- On World Sleep Day 2023, Idorsia UK calls for greater global action to tackle the burden of chronic insomnia disorder (CID) and reduce its impacts on individuals, employers and society, as new, first of its kind research reveals the hidden costs of the condition in the UK.
In a new report, funded by Idorsia Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Switzerland, experts from RAND Europe indicate that if CID was treated effectively and comprehensively across the working age population, it could increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the UK by as much as £34billion per year.1* Findings also highlight the serious toll that insomnia places on quality of life and wellbeing, with those affected willing to trade on average an estimated 14% of their annual per-capita household income to recuperate the wellbeing loss associated with the condition.1 A series of targeted recommendations for health leaders and clinicians are also provided, which if implemented could potentially help to reduce the burden of sleep conditions in the UK. These include steps to help increase awareness of the importance of sleep, improve diagnosis and management of insomnia, and support optimal treatment.
Marco Hafner, study co-author and RAND Europe research advisor commented:
"This new research lays bare the significant personal and economic impacts that the inadequate management of sleep conditions such as chronic insomnia disorder is having in the UK. Our findings point to the need for more timely diagnosis and management of insomnia to improve outcomes for patients and deliver better economic outcomes for the UK. This could include incorporating insomnia screening within routine clinic visits and enabling access to evidence-based, affordable, and cost-effective treatments for chronic insomnia."
Findings from RAND Europe show that in the UK, CID is associated with approximately 11 to 18 days of absence from work, 39 to 45 days of working whilst sick, and 44 to 54 days of overall productivity loss annually.1 When calculated at a population level, these working days lost to CID result in an overall cost to UK GDP of 1.31% in lost productivity per year, meaning that around £1 in every £76 of national wealth is lost.1
CID is a persistent medical condition that impacts a person's ability to fall or stay asleep, for at least three nights per week for at least three months, and has a negative impact on the individual's daytime functioning.2,3 In a recent survey of UK insomnia sufferers over 80% of respondents reported that their condition impacted their performance at work along with their ability to concentrate and maintain stress levels.4 Poor management of sleep disorders such as CID is also associated with an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents, falls, and costly workplace errors,5,6,7 as well as further hidden costs that have not previously been widely explored.1 While approved treatment options for insomnia are available in the UK, such as cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBTi), these may not be suitable or effective for all patients and innovative behavioural and pharmacological treatments for chronic insomnia are needed that are effective for long-term use.1
Kevin Bampton, CEO, British Occupational Hygiene Society, commented:
"Ensuring the health of our workforce is fundamental to building economic growth, and these new findings highlight what a critical impact sleep conditions like chronic insomnia disorder can have on this. Recent years have shown the difference employers can make to protecting the health of their workforce by implementing preventative measures. Elevating the importance of sleep health and supporting employees to achieve the restorative sleep they need not only supports the health of workers, but has the potential to improve productivity, to the benefit of all."
Along with considering its economic costs, RAND Europe also examined the wellbeing impacts of CID, which is strongly linked with poorer quality of life and lower life satisfaction,1 as well as significant decrements in health status, such as fatigue, reduced energy, mood alteration and cognitive difficulties.8 In order to quantify the impact of insomnia on overall wellbeing and to determine its cost, RAND Europe employed a novel monetary valuation approach called the "WELLBY".1 Short for Wellbeing-adjusted Life Year, the "WELLBY" was endorsed by the UK Treasury in 2021 and is used to measure overall life satisfaction and wellbeing, similar to how the NHS uses the QALY (Quality-Adjusted Life Year) to measure health impact.1,9 Using the "WELLBY" approach RAND Europe found that people suffering from insomnia, including CID, would be willing to trade on average an estimated 14% of their annual per-capita household income to recuperate the wellbeing loss associated with the condition.1 When extrapolated across the UK population, RAND Europe estimates the total wellbeing costs of insomnia in the UK could be close to £17.7billion.1*
Robert Moore, General Manager of Idorsia UK, commented
"Though widely under-researched, sleep is an essential pillar for good physical and mental health. We welcome these clear recommendations from RAND Europe to help address the current burden of insomnia in the UK. Idorsia commits to working alongside other UK stakeholders to help increase public understanding of the benefits of quality, restorative sleep and provide solutions that improve both the identification and management of CID."
*Converted from USD to GBP
Notes to the editor
About insomnia disorder
Insomnia disorder is defined as difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep, causing clinically significant distress or impairment in important areas of daytime functioning.3 Chronic insomnia disorder occurs when the impact on sleep quantity or quality is present for at least three nights per week for at least three months, and occurs despite an adequate opportunity to sleep.3
Insomnia is a condition of overactive wake signaling and studies have shown that areas of the brain associated with wakefulness remain more active during sleep in patients with insomnia.10,11
Insomnia as a disorder is quite different from a brief period of poor sleep, and it can take its toll on both physical and mental health.12 It is a persistent condition with a negative impact on daytime functioning.3 Poor quality sleep can affect many aspects of daily life, including the ability to concentrate, mood, and energy levels.8
About The Societal and Economic Burden of Insomnia in Adults: An International Study
The objective of this study was to identify and quantify the societal burden of insomnia and its resultant impacts, both in terms of indirect economic costs (i.e. non-healthcare related costs) and intangible costs (i.e. costs that are not directly observed through economic transactions but nonetheless have impacts on an individual's health or well-being). Based on these findings, the report includes recommendations for future policy, clinical practice and research to mitigate the societal and economic impacts of insomnia.
The focus of this research was on general adult populations in high-income, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries of Northern, Southern and Western Europe, as well as North America and Australia. The research methodology included a literature review, secondary database analysis and the development of a macro-economic model to estimate the indirect economic costs associated with insomnia. More detailed information on the methodology can be found here.
The Societal and Economic Burden of Insomnia in Adults: An International Study was funded by Idorsia Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Switzerland and conducted by RAND Europe under the advisement of a steering committee whose members were selected for their subject-matter expertise and objectivity.
RAND Europe is a highly regarded, not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to help improve policy and decision making through research and analysis. All RAND research undergoes rigorous expert review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.
About Marco Hafner
Marco Hafner is an economist and co-author of The Societal and Economic Burden of Insomnia in Adults: An International Study. He is also lead author of the 2016 report Why Sleep Matters: Quantifying the Economic Costs of Insufficient Sleep. Hafner was Senior Research Leader at RAND Europe at the time of this study, where he conducted research at the intersection between health, labour and international economics.
He has published studies in peer-reviewed academic journals on the economy-wide effects of ill-health in the population. Hafner holds a Master's in Economics from the University of Zurich, an MPhil in Economics from UCL, and conducted doctoral studies at the University of Freiburg. He previously worked for the Institute for Employment Research in Germany, before joining RAND in 2013.
About Kevin Bampton
Kevin Bampton is the Chief Executive Officer of the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS), the leading professional body for occupational hygiene in the UK. He joined BOHS in 2017 after a successful career in higher education, where he held various senior leadership roles.
As CEO of BOHS, he is responsible for overseeing the strategic direction and operational management of the organisation, which aims to protect workers' health and wellbeing by promoting excellence in occupational hygiene practice. He also represents BOHS on national and international platforms, forging alliances with other health and safety organisations, regulators, trade unions and businesses. Kevin is passionate about raising awareness of occupational hygiene as a vital discipline that can make a difference to people's lives.
1 Hafner M., Romanelli R.J., Yerushalmi E. & Troxel W.M. The Societal and Economic Burden of Insomnia in Adults: An International Study. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2023.
2 The International Classification of Sleep Disorders (3rd ed.; ICSD-3; American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 2014).
3 The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM–5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
4 Data on file, Idorsia UK Ltd.
5 Erickson, E.A., et al. MSMR. 2017; 24(12):2-11.
6 Chen, T-Y., et al. Sleep. 2017;40(11): zsx142.
7 Shahly, V., et al. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2012; 69(10):1054-63.
8 Morin, CM, et al. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2015;1:15026.
9 Social Impacts Task Force. 2021. Wellbeing Guidance for Appraisal: Supplementary Green Book Guidance. HM Treasury. Available at: www.gov.uk/official-documents.
10 Buysse, DJ, et al. Drug Discov Today Dis Models. 2011;8(4):129-137.
11 Levenson, JC, et al. Chest. 2015;147(4):1179-1192.
12 Wardle-Pinkston, S, et al. Sleep Med Rev. 2019;48.
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