Solving the $100 Billion Problem Affecting America’s Workforce

Edward Norton Bored

Every day in offices across the country, employees find themselves falling asleep at their desks. Perhaps some may get away with it, but it is every employers’ responsibility to keep a close eye on productivity. The harsh truth is that drowsiness in the workplace is becoming more and more common, and that is costing companies billions of dollars.

One-third of those surveyed for the National Sleep Foundation‘s annual “Sleep in America” poll had fallen asleep or become sleepy at work in the past month. The telephone survey questioned 1,000 adults in the continental United States and was conducted between September 25, 2007, and November 19, 2007. The poll also found that Americans are working more and sleeping less. The average amount of sleep was six hours and 40 minutes a night. The average workday? Nine hours and 28 minutes.

America’s workforce is suffering from an unknown epidemic, and it’s costing American companies billions of dollars each year. While it’s not a health issue normally thought to be the most important, tens of millions of Americans suffer each year from snoring. These issues go untreated, and it ends up compromising the health, vitality and safety of the employees. The problems don’t end in the workplace, they can often one’s overall health. It’s not often understood that there are many effective ways to treat snoring, there are effective therapies like oral appliances that have been clinically proven to result in the reduction of snoring.

The financial impact for employers is not a number to scoff at, with approximately $86.9 billion dollars wasted in lost productivity. Workplace accidents from fatigue alone end up costing companies an estimated $6.5 billion in costs. Drowsiness can cause reduced reaction time, reduced awareness, and other problems that increase the likelihood of an employee being injured on the job. Costs associated with this type of accident are vast and can include lost wages, absenteeism, medical expenses and reduced quality of life. These affect not only the person, but also the employer, healthcare industry and taxpayers.

The research on long term compromised sleep leads to comorbidities such as hypertension, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression and anxiety continues to grow. The healthcare utilization costs associated with these physical and mental conditions is approximately $30 billion each year, driven by more hospital and emergency room visits, medication use and, ultimately, mortality rates. Luckily for companies there are effective ways to treat snoring that positively affects mental health and interpersonal relationships.

In the United States, car accidents caused by lack of sleep caused an estimated $26.2 billion in costs in 2015. According to a report by AAA, drowsy driving accounts for nearly 29 percent of all accidents, but that number may be even higher, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that more than 10 million accidents go unreported each year.

While there are many accidents involving personal vehicles, some of the most visible and publicized accidents occur in the transportation industry. With fatigue-related accidents causing millions of dollars in damage and potentially loss of life, there is now a bright spotlight on screening and diagnosis among professional drivers. Treating snoring and sleep disorders can reduce costs associated with vehicular damage, medical expenses, lost wages from corresponding absenteeism, property damage and insurance premiums.

In a workplace study, Harvard Medical School tracked nine years of data on truck drivers who snored. “We found that those who were not compliant with treatment had a 400-percent increased risk of serious, preventable truck crashes compared with those who were compliant with treatment,” says study co-author Charles Czeisler, MD, chief of the division of sleep and circadian disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and professor at Harvard Medical School. Czeisler and his colleagues also looked at healthcare costs among compliant drivers and found that their costs went down by $6,000 per year. Looking at this data shows that helping to solve employees sleep and snoring not only helps save lives, but it can boost the bottom line.

John Hopkins Medical Center estimates that 93% of people who suffer from sleep-related issues are undiagnosed and silently suffer. Sleep-related health issues can cause fatigue, headaches, weight gain, impotence, hypertension and much more.

There are many options on the market to track and improve your snoring habits, but I personally recommend Snore Report, a free new iPhone app that analyzes the pitch, tone and frequency level of your snoring to deliver a complete report the next morning. This information can help identify any sleep issues that could be affecting your health.

The direct benefit to the public is substantial and includes:

  • Greater work productivity
  • Fewer highway accidents
  • Reduction of afternoon sleepiness
  • Improved relationships
  • Reduction of comorbidities: carotid atherosclerosis, early onset diabetes, ED, etc.
  • Improvement in general health, vitality and energy levels

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Dr. Robert A Lebby

Dr. Robert A LebbyVerified account

Sleep Medicine Consultant at SnoreReport
Dr. Robert A Lebby, MD, FAASM, FCCP, Sleep Medicine Consultant, is a Board-Certified sleep MD and a technical consultant for the new iPhone biometric sleep assessment iPhone app - Snore Report. He graduated with honors from University of California, Irvine, California College of Medicine in 1989. With more than 28 years of cross specialty experiences in sleep laboratory / medicine, internal medicine and pulmonary disease, Lebby shares his extensive practice experience and expertise in sleep disorders with the Snore Report engineers to provide critical insight on how to advance and improve biometric sleep assessment.
Dr. Robert A Lebby

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